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NTPC’s Lanka JV to see the light of day

[Express Buzz, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 08:45 No Comment]

The long-pending India-Sri Lanka joint venture to set up a 500 MW coal-fired power plant at Sampur in Eastern Sri Lanka could see the light of day sometime this month, Lankan Minister for Power, Champika Ranawakka, told Express here on Tuesday.

The Minister’s optimism accords with a report in The Nation weekly last Sunday, which quoted unnamed sources in the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) as saying that the Lankan Attorney General (AG) had cleared 99 per cent of the issues he had raised with regard to the agreements to be signed.

“The CEB and Indian’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) have sorted out all the technical issues, but certain legal issues, pointed out by the AG are still to be addressed. We are seeking diplomatic channels to help us sort it out,” Ranawakka said.

“The CEB has already re-drawn its plans to suit the expected flow of power from the Sampur plant,” the Minister said.

On the issue of sovereign guarantees, the Minister said, “There was also some difference of opinion on the wordings in the agreements.”

“The AG’s office is going through the agreements to ensure that some of the difficulties encountered in earlier international agreements do not arise in this case,” Ranawakka said.

The project was delayed because of differences over the technical suitability of the location, with the Indians preferring a location on the western side of China Bay near the Trincomalee harbour.

The Tamil parties had also opposed the plan to locate the plant in Sampur due to displacement of 25,000 Tamils.

Eventually, India gave its nod for Sampur, and intense negotiations between CEB and NTPC resulted in the finalisation of the draft of the joint venture agreement, the power purchase agreement and the implementation agreement.

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