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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mini Hydro power plants boost village level economy

Colombo Times: 27/09/2005" Sunil C.Perera

According to the government figures, most houses in the rural sector need electricity to illuminate their houses and crush the darkness.

Most villagers are now changing their attitude to face the Internet era from their houses through modern communication devices. The solar industry initially reached the rural houses to illuminate the houses with many concessions, but failed to provide cheap electricity due to the high prices of the solar panels.

Ratturugala, a rural village in the Ratnapura district faced similar difficulties due to lack of electricity and the common infrastructure. After the commissioning of Rathganga Mini hydropower project in last year, the residents of the area became interested in electricity and the electrical devices from the hydro power plant.

They have seen high voltage electricity lines, which are over their houses, but never use electricity to illuminate their houses before the commissioning of the Rattganga Pan Asia hydropower project.

However the power station connected to the national grid, the staff of the power station and their mother company had assisted to bring micro level power generation system for the Ratturugala area after a series of lengthy discussions with authorities.

According to the government data the village hydropower projects which are operating mainly in three districts in the country serve thousands of poor masses to illuminate their houses in rural villages.

When the media visited Rathturugala, Rathganga off 25 kilometers from Ratnapura, the resident of the area said that they received free electricity after the commissioning of micro hydropower project in their village.

Responding to queries of media a farmer, R.P.Kamal Premajayntha of Ratthurugala, Gilimale said that they received electricity without political interference to illuminate their houses.

The Ratthurugala Micro Hydro power project was commissioned in last year with the assistance of the Japan Postal savings for International Voluntary Aid Channeled through Terra People Association, World Bank RERED project, Hatton National Bank and the Sabaragamuwa provincial Council.

The Udawatta Ratthurugala Rural Electrification Project now serves over 48 houses of the area and wishes to expand its capacity.

However, the residents are now paying block payment for bank loans and member fee for the Udawatta-Ratturugala Electricity Consumers Association.

Another resident of the area and a worker of the power station G.G.Nayanananda said he received electricity.

“We will free from bank loans after two years, but our association has decided to charge one hundred rupees as a maintain cost, said Nayananada who needs to start a small industry in his house.

I am waiting to start my sown industry, he said.

According to the industry sources if the government and the international donors support the micro hydropower sector, the rural masses can access the new world using electricity.

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