BY T. RAMAKRISHNAN
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday announced an assistance of 38 billion yen for power transmission and water supply projects in Sri Lanka.
The announcement was made after Mr. Abe and Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena held a bilateral summit meeting in Nagoya, Japan. Mr. Sirisena was there to attend the Outreach Meeting held as part of the G7 Ise-Shima Summit.
The proposed assistance would be for the construction of transmission lines in the North Central and Eastern Provinces and water supply facilities in the North Central Province.
The transmission project would allow the electricity generated at the proposed power plants in the Eastern Province to be used for the city of Colombo. In the East, two separate coal-fired power generation projects have been proposed. While one project — two units of 250 MW — has been planned in Sampur through a joint venture with India’s NTPC, another project of 1,200 MW (four units of 300 MW each) will come up in the same area with the help of Japan. A month ago, Japanese Ambassador Kenichi Suganuma assured Sri Lanka’s Power Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya of his country’s support. It was also announced then that initially 500 MW would be generated.
The latest announcement on the East Asian country’s support for a power transmission project has come at a time when objections are being expressed to the Sampur power project to be executed with the help of India. There were recently reports in sections of the media that Colombo would prefer a LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) power project to a coal-fired plant.
Mr. Abe also expressed his intention to “positively consider” the provision of Development Policy Loan (DPL), meant for policy and institutional reform in macro-economic and public financial management beside the promotion of the private sector.
As part of its support for reconciliation efforts in Sri Lanka, Tokyo would fund a project of 1.7-billion yen to build a research and training complex at the Faculty of Agriculture in the University of Jaffna. Ten days ago, the two countries exchanged notes in this regard.