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India, Sri Lanka to build power plant in ex-war zone

[AFP, Tuesday, 6 September 2011 14:25 No Comment]

Sri Lanka and India have finalised a joint venture to set up a $500-million coal-powered electricity plant in the island’s former war zone, the two sides announced on Tuesday.

India’s state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) signed the joint venture accord with the Sri Lankan government-owned Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to commission the 500-megawatt power station.

"The project will go on stream by 2016 and meet growing demand for power in Sri Lanka," the state-run companies said in a statement.

The two countries agreed on the venture in December 2006 at a time when government forces were still locked in combat with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in the island’s northeast.

The project is now ready for implementation after government forces crushed Tiger rebels and ended decades of ethnic bloodshed in May 2009, officials said.

The power plant will be located in a former stronghold of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who were defeated after nearly four decades of fighting.

The Indo-Sri Lanka joint venture will be Sri Lanka’s second coal-powered plant. Earlier this year, the government commissioned the first plant, built with Chinese loans on the northwestern coast of the island.

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