She pointed out that while during the past year 70% of the country’s power generation was obtained through thermal power plants, it was also costing the
government a huge amount to generate power to meet the demand. However the minister pointed out that with the commencement of the second and third
stages of Sampoor and Norochcholai which would contribute 1100 MW to the National grid, the current costs incurred for thermal power generation could be
dramatically reduced and the ministry intends to pass on the benefits to the consumer through the reduction of tariffs.
The minister made these comments during a ceremony in Kolonne, Ratnapura on 2013.10.18 while vesting several electrification projects in the public.
Around 500 families who were for so long deprived of electricity of Nung gaha Yaya, Gurumada Mw, Omalpe Medawathugoda, Galkandagoda,
Vijeriya Udagama, Nandanagama Ginigalgoda remote areas received electricity supply through these electrification projects. These electrification projects
under Iranian RE -8 loan facilities, were completed at a cost of Rs. Four million.
Minister Wanniarachchi addressing the gathering subsequent to the vesting ceremony stated that “until President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed duties as
the President of this country there were no proper electrification projects planned to meet the growing power demand of the country. However during his
official visit to India in 2005 the Sampoor Coal power plant was inaugurated. However the project stalled due to numerous reasons, and finally under the
directions of the President and the supervision of the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, the agreement was finally signed recently.
Power generation is very costly but coal is a relatively cheaper power generation source in comparison to thermal sources. As you all know last year while
70% of power generation was through thermal sources such as Diesel and Furnace oil, it was very costly. However we plan on completing the second stage
of Norochcholai by the end of this year and the third stage next year and also Sampoor, which will enable us to provide 100% of the electricity demand at a
very low rate. Many countries in the Asian region have not been able to provide even 50% of their population with electricity. Furthermore this president had to
come into power to realise the dream of providing electricity to all of you. In fact the president on numerous occasions have told us that he still remembers
how he and his brothers studied under the light of a petrolmax lamp at their Medamulana ancestral home. Hailing from the village himself the president
knows the hardships faced by the village folk and hence he has vowed to ensure that all households in the country is provided access to uninterrupted
electricity by the end of 2014. Providing electricity to every household will no doubt improve the education of many village children, and as a mother nothing
gives me greater pleasure than to see that children benefit through the provision of electricity to the rural areas,” said the minister.
Among other distinguished guests present during this ceremony in the Kolonne electorate were the MP for Ratnapura Sunny Rohana Kodithuwakku, the
Chairman of the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Kanchana Jayaratne, the Chairman of the Kononna Pradeshiya Sabha Daya Pathirana and PS member
Indunil Rajapaksa, including a large gathering of the residents of the area.