Ability to take bold decisions leads to sustainable development – Mahinda

Friday, 5 November 2010 13:15 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Power and Energy Minister Patali Champaka Ranawaka welcomes President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the opening of the longest tunnel constructed at the Upper Kotmale Hydropower project yesterday.

The Upper Kotmale hydropower station was implemented based on a bold decision that has today paved the way for sustainable development, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday.

He made these remarks during an inspection tour of the Upper Kotmale hydropower tunnel that was constructed to channel water from the Kotmale stream to the hydropower station.

The hydropower station is a solution to the country’s demand for electricity, the President said, adding that the whole country would have electricity by 2012.

The public can view the 12.9 km long, 5.2 meter wide Kotmale tunnel, considered to be the longest tunnel in the country, for the next three days.

The authorities said the public will be provided with transport and security to view the tunnel with limited access to prevent congestion.

The construction of the Upper Kotmale hydropower plant which had been in the planning stage for nearly four decades due to political wrangling was finally commenced in March 2006.  The Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project is the final and large scale hydropower project to be built in Sri Lanka.

The project, built at a cost of US$ 350 million was mainly funded by the Government of Japan under a loan agreement through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.  When completed, the Kotmale project is expected to provide 409 GWh annually to the national grid with an installed capacity of 150MW.  Ministers Patali Champika Ranawaka, Arumugam Thondaman, C.B. Ratnayake, Deputy Ministers Muttu Sivalingam, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Premalal Jayasekara, the Governor of Central Province Tikkiri Kobbekaduwa, Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayaka, and Japanese Ambassador Kunio Takahashi were present on the occasion.