By Shihara Maduwage and Hasini Rupasinghe
A new loan agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of Japan amounting to Rs.26 billion will be signed through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) soon.
The loan, at 0.3 percent interest with a 40-year repayment period, will be drawn by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).
According to JICA Sri Lanka Chief Representative Kiyoshi Amada, the concessional loan is for the National Transmission and Distribution Network and Efficiency Improvement Project, which aims to improve the productivity of the country’s national grid.
He said the main aim of the planned project is to increase the efficiency of the national grid by introducing low-loss power transmission and distribution lines and constructing new substations in Western, Central and North Central Provinces.
“The goal of this project is to reduce transmission blocks and stabilize the power supply in the country,” Amada said.
The main components of the project comprise of the construction of a 220/132kV switching station and the 132/33kV Kirindiwela grid substation with related 132kV and 220kV transmission lines. Construction will also be carried out on a 132kV Thulhiriya–Veyangoda transmission line, Battaramulla grid substation and a 220kV Kotmale – New Polpitiya transmission line.
The project will also undertake capacity enhancement of 132kV Kolonnawa–Pannipitiya, 132kV Pannipitiya – Ratmalan and the 132kV Polpitiya – New Habarana transmission lines.
Two underground electricity distribution lines in the Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia area and Battaramulla will also add to the efficiency of the national grid.
Amada added that the project is expected to be completed by 2019.
Further to the concessional loan, a grant agreement to provide human resource development scholarship programme targeting government officials is also expected to be signed soon.
Under the programme, Rs.250 million will be given to Sri Lanka to provide a two-year training programme to 15 government officials on national development policies and global environmental issues.
Meanwhile, speaking about the upcoming and ongoing JICA projects, Amada said that the development projects already started will continue during and after the general elections.
“We are ready to have new dialogue with the government after elections. However, the ongoing projects will continue without interruption,” he said.
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