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Sunday October 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka-India grid connectivity to be realised by 2030: power minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government has priortised regional energy integration with grid connectivity between Sri Lanka and India to be implemented by 2030, Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara said.

The World Bank has been assisting the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) in understanding the technical requirements and business models for the project, Wijesekara tweeted Tuesday June 06 morning following a meeting the previous day with World Bank Director of Regional IntegrationCecile Fruman and Country Manager Chiyo Kanda.

In 2022, Sri Lanka and India were eyeing an over-water cable to link the power grids of the two countries, dropping an earlier plan for a submarine cable.

Linking the India and Sri Lanka power grids had been discussed since the 1970s.

The new plan involves a joint venture between Power Grid Corporation India and the Ceylon Electricity Board.

The plan got renewed attention after 2002, United State Agency for International Development (USAID/South Asia Regional Initiative on Energy Project) and another feasibility study was also conducted in 2011 by Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL).

An earlier plan involves a 285 kilometre High Voltage Direct Current link from Madurai to Anuradhapura, with 50 kilometres of submarine cabling.

Both the studies have concluded that a short term and a medium term link was more feasible than a long term one.

The short-term link will generate 500MW and a medium and long-term link will be 1000MW between the two countries.

As per the studies based on the cost, the construction of a high voltage direct current (HVDC) link from Madurai to Anuradhapura was suggested.

According to the PGCIL, the cost of constructing a short-term link (500MW) would be 340 million dollars while the longer/medium term link would cost 430 million dollars.

The two countries were initially planning to set up a 500MegaWatt cable at 340 million dollars and which would be upgraded to 1000MW later.

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Sri Lanka National Christian Council opposes Online Safety Bill

ECONOMYNEXT – The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) in a statement on the Online Safety Bill, said that the existing legal regime is adequate to deal with instances of harmful speech, making it unjustifiable to enact such “stringent laws”.

The Council called upon the government to withdraw the bill immediately.

The body expressed “deep concern” over the proposed bill, detailing its potential to curtail freedom of speech and how, according to the Council, the piece of legislature is inconsistent with the principles of democracy.

“The bill proposes the establishment of an entity named the Online Safety Commission without provisions to guarantee its independence and impartiality,” the statement said.

Chapter 3 imposes restrictions on online communication of certain statements, many of which are vague and overbroad, leaving room for executive control and the curtailing of legitimate criticism and dissent that are basic features of democracy, the statement said.

“The laws granting wide discretion to the executive and its investigative agencies with expansive reach have been misused in the past.”

The Council said that the bill was not drafted with the process of public consultation and discussion, which might have ensured the bill would be less draconian in nature.

“The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka calls upon the government to withdraw this anti-human rights and anti-democratic bill immediately.” (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lanka to implement new vehicle revenue licence issuing system

ECONOMYNEXT – A new system of issuing vehicle licences called eRL 2.0 is to be implemented in 5 provinces, excluding the Western Province, from 3 October onwards.

The new system is to be implemented beginning in the North West, South, North Central, Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces, respectively. The existing vehicle licence issuing system eRL 1.0 will continue to be used in the Western Province.

The issuing of revenue licences islandwide at Department of Motor Traffic head offices and regional branches will be temporarily halted on October 2.

The facility of obtaining vehicle permits online will also be temporarily halted on 6 October till midnight.

The Sri Lanka Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and the Provincial Motor Traffic Departments are working to modernize the current vehicle revenue license issuance system.

The implementation of the new eRL 2.0 system is expected to be an important step in the digitalisation of Sri Lanka. (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lankan Airlines flights cancelled as aircraft grounded

ECONOMYNEXT – State-run SriLankan Airlines has apologized to passengers who were stranded as multiple aircraft were grounded at the same time.

The airline said it has strict procedures which requires aircraft to be grounded when technical issues are discovered.

“Unfortunately, in this case we suffered a number of groundings at the same time,” the airline said.

“We apologize for the disruption and inconvenience caused and assure all our loyal customers that we are working diligently to minimize such occurrences moving forward.”

The airline said it was booking passengers on other airlines while some have been accommodated at hotels. (Colombo/Sept30/2023)

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