Sri Lanka’s last major hydropower project hits a snag

Sri Lanka’s last major hydropower project hits a snag

25 August 2019 09:04 pm

Sri Lanka’s last major 35 MW Broadlands Hydropower Project with annual generation capacity of 126 GWh is still to see the light of day even after six years of its ground breaking ceremony.

The construction contract of the project was granted to the China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC).

The key factors behind the delay were the construction, social and environmental issues as well as engineering and commercial problems, officials said.

Interruption in civil work, release of funds by the Government, political instability, project start without proper site investigation and poor project time management were the other reasons behind delays of the project

The project is expected to be completed in 2020, and will consist of two dams, and a power station further downstream, if everything goes well, Power and Energy Ministry Secretary Suren Batagoda disclosed.

A sum of US$ 82 million had been estimated for this project and it had been scheduled to finance 85 per cent and 15 per cent respectively of the estimated cost by the Corporate Bank Corporation (JCBC) and by the Hatton National Bank, he said.

Even though it had been scheduled to launch the project in 2013 and to complete the project by 2018, the progress of this project had been 43 per cent as at the end 2017/ 2018 period, a government audit query revealed.

Minister of Power, Energy Ravi Karunanayake recently reviewed the current progress of the hydropower project.

During the site visit, the Minister gave instructions to expedite the construction work and to commission the power plant as early as possible.
The underground tunnels of the project that run through the Polpitiya village have given rise to a number of issues.

A portion of land on top of the tunnel system sunk on August 7, 2016 and this has resulted in the postponement of the project.

The plant is now being built in Yatiyantota in the Kegalle district. The tunnel of the complex will be 3.5 km long and 5.4 meters in diameter.

It will harness the last remaining hydropower potential of the Kehelgamu-Maskeli Oya (K-M) complex located in Kitulgala area.

The construction of the main dam of the project will directly affect White-Water Rafting (WWR) that takes place along the downstream of the area.