Ravi blames delay in Uma Oya project for power cuts

Ravi Karunanayake

Recent power cuts experienced across the country, which led to chaos, loss of revenue, and financial damage, were mainly due to the delay in implementation of the Uma Oya project, Power and Energy Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

The Minister was speaking during a recent inspection tour of the project site. The Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project was slated for completion in June 2018.

Previous to Minister Karunanayake’s visit to the site, President Maithripala Sirisena on February 22, after inspecting the site’s underground power plant under construction in Randeniya, directed relevant authorities to speed up its completion and provide its benefits to the people by August.

Minister Karunanayake said he plans to complete the Uma Oya Hydropower Project by mid-2020.

The project will feed 120 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.

The Minister also admitted that delays in the construction of power plants had caused the recent power outages.

There have been numerous obstacles that contributed to these delays, he said. “But my objective is to remove them and hasten the construction of power plants,” he added.

The President’s Media Division said the work on the US$ 450 million project, which is being undertaken with an Iranian loan and began in 2010, is currently continuing with proper environmental impact assessment reports and guidelines.

The Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project will transfer water from Uma Oya to Kirindi Oya to generate hydropower and to irrigate the dry and less-developed southeastern region of the Central highlands.

The capacity of electrical power generation will be 120 MW, while about 25,000 acres of paddy lands will be irrigated.

According to Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau, the project consists of two reservoirs at Puhulpola and Dayaraba, with a conveyance tunnel of 3.98 km. length linking the two reservoirs, a 15.2 km-long headrace tunnel, a powerhouse and a tailrace tunnel. The Puhulpola Reservoir is on the Dalgolla Oya and the Dayaraba Reservoir on the Mahatotilla Oya, both rivers discharging into the Uma Oya.

(Source: Daily News – By Chamikara Weerasinghe)