NTPC's 500 MW coal based power project at Sampur, Trincomalee and PowerGrid Corporation's over and under-sea transmission line project connecting India and Sri Lanka are expected to get a much needed push during meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.
The power project, which NTPC had proposed in June 2005, entails an investment of Rs 2,000 crore has yet to get various clearances from the Sri Lankan government agencies.
Similarly, the transmission project proposed in 2007-08 to transfer 1,000 MW of power from India to Sri Lanka needs an investment of Rs 3,000 crore. However, both the governments and PowerGrid Corporation and Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) have yet to settle various technical and non technical issues before reaching at a formal agreement in this regard.
NTPC spokes person said, ''The coal based project is a joint venture between the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and NTPC. Currently, the company has initiated process to get environment clearance from the Sri Lankan government. The public hearing will be held in a months time.'' Already NTPC's team is stationed in Sri Lanka and pursuing the project development.
According to the spokes person, governments of Sri Lanka and India entered into an Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in October 2013 to develop a coal power plant in Trincomalee as a joint venture between CEB and NTPC. The initial plant capacity will be 500 MW which can be extended up to 1000 MW. Further, power from the Sampur plant could be exported to India, as part of an interconnected grid.
As far as PowerGrid Corporation's transmission project is concerned, 300 km of overhead transmission line has been proposed between Anuradhapur in Sri Lanka and Madurai 300 km. This apart, there will be marine link of 1,700 km.
PowerGrid Corporation official said, ''Technical and financial issues are being discussed between PowerGrid Corporation and CEB. Besides, there are religious place at the connecting centres and the local community needs to be taken on board. Two high voltage, direct current (HVDC) terminal stations are to be set up at the two ends of the link, connected to Sri Lanka's national power grid. ''
Meanwhile, Neelam Deo, former diplomat and director, Gateway House, a foreign policy think tank said traditionally, India and Sri Lanka have shared close relations.President Sirisena's visit from 15-18 February will contribute positively to the bilateral and expand opportunities for economic engagement.
''India has investments worth over $1 billion in Sri Lanka, and trade between the two countries stands at $5 billion. India will need to strike a difficult and delicate balance between its economic interests and the need to emphasize the concerns of the Sri Lankan Tamils. India must advance pending projects with Sri Lanka, particularly the $270 million project to build housing units in the North and a 500-megawatt coal power plant in the Eastern province," she noted.
Source- Business standard