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Hon Minister of Power & Energy, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Attorney at Law, stated that the CEB will not be an institution riddled with Debt burdens any more and that it has now transformed itself to a people friendly institution serving the people, under the able and far seeing leadership of His Excellency President Mahinda Rajaapakse. She stated this when she attended the ceremony to handover the concessionary loans to get electricity connections for the houses of low income families which started from the Ratnapura district. This inauguration ceremony to hand over the concessionary loans, to low income families, washeld at the Auditorium of the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council, andwas attended by about 1300 Low income families.
Under the concept of Mahinda Chinthana to ensure the upliftment of low income village families, the Ceylon Electricity Board, under the direction of the Ministry of Power and Energy too, has launched many schemes. Under this scheme a maximum amount of Rs. 40,000 will be given as a concessionary loan to be paid within 6 years, under an instalment scheme , which includes the electricity bill. The fist phase of this scheme has been launched for the low income families in the Hambantota,, Ampara and Ratnapura districts. It is expected to grant this concessionary loan to about 47,000 low income families in the island.
Speaking further at this inauguration ceremony the Hon Minister if Power and Energy, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Attorney at Law stated that in order to speed up the programme to provide electricity to all households in the inland, this concessionary loan scheme was introduced and inaugurated under the guidance and advice of His Excellency the President, Mahinda Rajapakse. The Hon Minister, Pavithra Wanniarachchi also stated that the present government is the only government who considered that, it is a basic Human right to provide electricity to the people. Participating in the ceremony, the Hon Minister, Pavithra Wanniarachchi stated” My father is a person who suffered a lot and came up in life. He has always told us that we should think from the small man’s angle and to take decisions accordingly. Therefore, irrespective of which Ministry I undertake to serve, I shall always think from the angle of the poor, and the small man’s angle of thinking who are always from our class.
When I first took over the Ministry of Power and Energy the rule at that time was, even though there is electricity in the village, the public had to spend out of their pocket to install the power poles if they wish to get electricity for their homes. But I changed this rule. I took a practical decision that just as much electricity is given to the village, the onus to fix an electricity pole in front of the house, should be vested with the Ceylon Electricity Board.
At that time Hon. President gave me the responsibility of providing electricity to all households by end of 2014. What we understood, when we went to the villages was that eventhough electricity had come to the village, it was difficult to get the electricity to the house from the pole, due to the poverty of our people. Some people did not have enough money even to get the wiring installed in their house. There was no body or no institution to lend them the money for this purpose. It was while looking for a solution for this problem that we came up with this idea to get the Electricity Board to bear the cost of wiring and the cost of installing the electricity Pole in front of the house and to recover this money, along with the electricity bill , in 72 monthly installments in 6 years, without any interest and thus providing electricity to the people.
We should be grateful to our President for giving the necessary advice and guidance for this practical solution. We should be grateful to our President, who is like a loving father to our people. I was able to convert the Ceylon Electricity Board to a Profit making institution. Today the Ceylon electricity Board has become a profit making institution, when it was a black listed company in the COPE report some time back. It has become an institution which is not a burden to the country. The Officers of the Ceylon Electricity Board who assisted me in this venture should earn the accolades of the entire nation. The Ceylon Electricity Board will not be a loss making institution from this point onwards. Today, the Ceylon Electricity Board has become a profit making institution because of the far seeing policies of the Hon. President. This is a major victory for us.
Electricity is a wonderful thing. Today every nook and corner of Sri Lanka has electricity. We will be able to supply 100% electricity by the end of this year to the country.Even in countries in this region, such as India, Nepal, Pakistan and China there is no 100% electricity supply. However the Hon. President gave me this target. When I told this to my officers they took all measures to achieve this target. There was an electricity cut in 1980/90. Electricity was cut in 2002- 2004 too. I was able to make this the only country, in this region which had no electricity cuts but supplied electricity without any interruption. I was able to garner the full support of all the officers and workers of the Electricity Board. Your child should not be in the same place as you are any longer. Through the supply of electricity, your child should be able to achieve great heights. Through this your child should be able to continue his studies and education without any interruption. Therefore through the decision, by the Electricity Board to give this concessionary loan to you, your lives will be so much more stable and lit up, stated the Hon. Minister.
Attending this occasion was Mr. Kanchana Jayaratne, Chairman of the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council, vice chairman of the Ceylon Electricity board Mr. KapilaPerera, General Manager of the CEB Mr. Shavindranath Fernando, and all Senior officials of the Ceylon Electricity Board and members of the Provincial and Pradesheeya Sabhas of the Ratnapura District. Chairman of the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council, Mr. Kanchana Jayaratne, Sabaragamuwa Provincial Minister Ranjith Bandara, Vice Chairman of the Ceylon electricity Board , Prof. Kapila Perera, General Manager Mr. shavindranath Fernando are also in the picture.