29 April 2002 – A report in the state-owned Daily News said on Friday that Sri Lanka is set to commence work on a giant Hydro electric power plant in the central Upper Kotmale area in May.

The Japanese-funded project, which is expected to add 150 MW of power to the national grid, will cost some $336m. Power and Energy Minister Karu Jayasuriya who has inspected the location of the power station said that the project would be completed in five years.

He assured the local residents who will be affected by the project that they would be given housing and job opportunities.

The project, which is opposed by environmentalists, has already suffered delays partly caused by the silting up of the Kotmale reservoir.

The country, which depends heavily on hydropower generation, has been suffering a severe power shortage and power cut has been imposed since early last July. Electricity demand is on the increase at the rate of 10 per cent each year and the present hydro electricity generation is about 1135 MW, which is not sufficient to meet the country’s annual demand for electricity.