Govt. temporarily halts Uma Oya multi-purpose project

Friday, 13 February 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Government has decided to temporarily suspend the Uma Oya multi-purpose development project, which has been a much discussed topic during the past few weeks. People in the Uva Province even held several protest campaigns against the project due to its adverse environmental impact. Deputy Irrigation Minister Wasantha Aluwihare said this evening that the Government would not stop the project entirely but would temporarily halt the development project until the issues related to it were fully discussed. The Deputy Minister made this comment following a discussion with stakeholders of the project. According to Aluwihare, the Government will look at the best measures to be taken to address the concerns over the project. The multi-purpose project involves the construction of two reservoirs on tributaries of the Uma Oya, which flows down from central hills and joins the Mahaweli River, and one tunnel on the Uma Oya to divert water to a power generator further downstream. The water will be diverted to the Kirindi Oya basin which will take water to Hambantota through the 25 km long underground tunnel across mountains in Bandarawela by creating a dam at Puhulpola in Welimada and a reservoir in Diaraba. The project, at an estimated cost of $ 529 million, was launched by the previous Government in 2012 with a $ 450 million loan from Iran. The five-year project was to be constructed by the Hardish Engineering Company of Iran.