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Kerawalapitiya gas power plant - A positive step

We are compelled to reply the letter of G.A.D.Sirimal, Boralesgamuwa appearing in your paper dated July 5, 2009 in order to educate him and everyone else on the factual position with regard to the 488 MW, LNG power project to be constructed at Kerawalapitiya.

Firstly, the public must be aware that this US$ 600 million Foreign Direct Investment project is entirely financed by a foreign investor and at no stage will the Sri Lankan Government be requested for financial aid. The supply of LNG and all costs associated with the project will be borne by the investor. They will construct a highly Efficient Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power station and either an onshore LNG re-gasification and storage facility or use a Floating Storage Re-gasification Unit [FSRU] vessel. The LNG infrastructure will be sized to accommodate further gas requirements for local industry and the expansion of the power station.

The Cabinet Sub Committee on Investment Facilitation chaired by the President approved this project on July7, 2006. In recognition of its value, a formal cabinet of ministers’ approval has been given approval of tariff and land to be allocated in the High Security Zone at Kerawalapitiya. Based on the Cabinet of Ministers’ decision dated June 27, 2008, an all inclusive tariff based on an energy payment has been agreed. This tariff is significantly lower than the price of existing thermal power generation in Sri Lanka and on a par with international best practice. Once operational, it would record major savings for the CEB which would amount to anything between Rs 7 to10 billion per year. It is understood that the operational Independent Power Producers (IPP) are being paid an average of Rs 20 per kWh which includes an energy charge plus a capacity charge. This is the only IPP power project not entitled to a capacity charge and qualifies only for an energy charge. The CEB will purchase power on a merit order when compared to other IPP’s and this is the only project to be treated in this manner.

It should be noted that due to its low impact on the environment and recognition as a clean energy technology, this power generation project will be developed as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project. What this means is that the project will produce a significant number of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) which can be traded in the European Union Emission Trading System and provide a substantial revenue stream to the project not available to coal fired generation. It is this aspect of the project, the low capital costs relative to coal fired generation and high efficiency of the plant that allows the project to provide the people of Sri Lanka clean and sustainable energy at a highly competitive price.
There is a delay in receiving the LOI since many amendments were necessary to ensure that the cabinet of ministers recommendations were correctly reflected in the LOI.

It is amusing to read that a feasibility study on the use of LNG is to be undertaken by a foreign party, when globally the demand for LNG is on the rise in countries having already done their feasibility studies. They are convinced that power from LNG and natural gas is far cheaper than oil and a non-pollutant of the air.

For the further information of Sirimal we understand that the ADB is brokering a 1700 km long gas pipeline which is a pioneering effort to link gas rich central Asia with energy deficient South Asia through Afghanistan. This pipeline will feed India and Pakistan and is costing US$ 3.3 billion. Meanwhile a US$ 7 billion scheme to construct a gas pipeline 2700 km long from off shore Iran to Pakistan and India is ongoing. The demand in India is to soar in the next decade and there seems to be a good case for the 3rd gas pipeline from Qatar to India. They are well ahead in the race for cheap energy while we are bogged down at a feasibility stage. For your further information, China is importing LNG from other countries and gradually reducing their dependence on gas, oil and coal due to obvious reasons, but on the other hand champions the export coal to improve their balance sheet.
Let this nation move forward and not backwards and follow the noble concept of Mahinda Chintanaya. Our future demand for power is expected to go over 8-10% when considering the mega infrastructural developments in the North and East, so let the innocent citizens have cheap power and lower their cost of living. Finally, the officials responsible for confusion, conflicts and contradictions should even now study the rapid progress of our neighbours and other developing countries and not behave like frogs in a well of doom.

H. M. Nawaratne
Lanka Aloka AB [Private] Limited


Humanity and animalism

Christians consume the flesh of animals without demur or any misgivings. The cow is sacred to the Hindu, but the flesh is eaten. Muslims say a prayer to Allah and draw blood. Buddhists adhere to the philosophy of Lord Buddha. The Buddha did not spurn the consumption of animal flesh.

He knew that from the Dark Ages man fed on animal flesh, and that animal fed on animal. Non-violence, purity, compassion and respect for life are not incompatible with the rearing of animals for man’s rational use. Jesus was born in cattle shed. Siddhartha was born a prince in the royal palace of King Suddhodana. In that kingdom, like in Sri Lanka, an animal fair named ‘Hela Mela’ was held annually.

At the fair, animals were traded for breeding and slaughter. A large number were bought by butchers to supply flesh to shops. The fair pained Siddhartha but it went on for it was a social necessity. Buddha trod the Middle Path aiming at propriety and equanimity. He did not ‘advocate’ the consumption of flesh, but was not averse to it for he was pragmatic.
Prevarication should not be resorted to and avoided in a grave, weighty discourse for it is not in keeping with Buddhist tenets either. “Eat what you need, and use whatever you need for modest living” are indeed the imposing words of the Sage. Vegetarianism is a deviation from the true animal life. It is close to the life of a hermit or recluse. It is self- denial. To lead a full life that nature and God gifted one should embrace life in all its fullness. Denial is incongruous and incompatible with life, provided one adheres to the accepted standards of polite civil society.

Prof. Sivasuriya lectures saying that animals should be permitted to submit to Mother Nature as humans do. That will ring the death knell of animal husbandry, an important money spinning industry which takes humanity forward. Man defies Mother Nature with the use of drugs and other curative methods. The same is practised on farm animals and even on animals in the wilds, as Siddhartha did with the flying swan that came down felled by the arrow of his cousin Devdutta. He picked up the injured bird, pulled out the arrow, cleaned the wound, gave it dew to drink, and crooned to the bird until he was able to release it to its habitat.
The Bible says that God having created the Earth and the heavens, the stars and the clouds and everything that is there he got down to creating animals - the birds and the bees and all animal life. The last were Adam and Eve and told them that all they could see was theirs. The animals and plants were food for them, though all life continued to remain sentient and on par with each other.

Prof. Sivasuriya is warned not to confuse the life of Prince Siddhartha the youth with that of the Buddha, the Philosopher under the Bo Tree. Going further, cow milk is rewarding business for the dairy farmer, though still the per capita income is low. Import of milk make up for the balance as the productivity too is low. Much has to be done. There are private companies involved in dairying. Presently about Rs. 20 billion leaves the country each year to bring in the milk that is needed. If that money is saved, it could be utilised to develop the economy. Dairying will ensure good health to the nation. Please do not make Sri Lanka a sickly nation grovelling in the economic mud. Cattle slaughter should be freely permitted after veterinary supervision, preventing truck loads of cattle being taken into custody. Robbing cattle is a malaise of inadequacy. Breed more cattle and robbery will subside.

Bertram Perera


Novel way to English

The novel way to good English is by reading good English novels.
Children revel in it for the enthralling stories. For the adult it is good relaxation, after work. Henty, Dickens, Scott, Lawrence are English authors. Translations of the works of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Maupassant will hold the interest of the reader when unknowingly his comprehension of the language will seep in. Mugging up will not help. Now there are branches of English - Communicative English, Pidgin English, Shakespearean English, Singlish as spoken by many in Sri Lanka, and probably Indish as some Indians may be speaking. There should be a large variety of English dialects spoken in its many colonies, when Britannia ruled the waves. England left its mark on much of the world and on Ceylon too. The Indian Tamil estate workers and more the kankanies who took orders from the English superintendents use a ticklish sort of English, arousing suppressed humour and laughter. Despite that the University of Cambridge sports a photograph of a superlative English orator, hanging in its gallery of distinguished past students - the picture of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike complete with bowtie dressed as the English nobility does - back home from studies he metamorphosed into a Sinhala orator and was finally responsible for winning true Political Independence by negotiating the withdrawal of England’s troops from Ceylon.

Winston Churchill is reputed to have spoken Queen’s English, having read all the volumes of Gibbon’s history of England but Colvin R de Silva, author of ‘Ceylon under the British’ mesmerised the Privy Council in England with his oratory and legal skill as a defence attorney. A Ceylonese who was present in court said that on that day he was truly proud to be a Ceylonese, for there was pin drop silence as Colvin’s oratory rattled all those present. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike is bludgeoned for the Sinhala Only Act .That was a political move to get the White Pukka Sahibs out of the country. He succeeded. The takeover of estates completed the coup, the Englishmen went home, and Independence was consolidated. Now, with the promotion of ‘English as a life skill’ for employment worldwide and for reaching out to the external world of knowledge that is available in English, the language is missed. Educationists who followed, in a fit of patriotism, blundered by making Sinhala the medium of instruction in all schools. Its need is badly missed. With the Eelam struggle laid to rest, Sinhala, Tamil and English should be vigorously pursued countrywide in all schools, as proposed, and with economic development proceeding, soon Sri Lanka will be ready to take its place amongst the developed world. Sri Lanka has a top seat amongst most disciplines, presently. With English its place will strengthen and stabilise.
English teachers should come from England, the home of the English.

Ivor Samarasinghe


Food for thought

I wish to refer to the ICC World Twenty 20 Cricket played in England and concluded recently.
Our Sri Lankan team had 15 players in their squad (like the others). It was a pity to note that having played so many matches, cricketers of the calibre of Indika de Saram, Farveez Maharoof or even Thilina Thushara were never given the opportunity of representing a single match thus, they were in their dugouts yawning and frustrated.
Then again, cricketers like Chamara Silva and Jehan Mubarak played in almost every match but failed to make any impact thus making a mockery of it all. Cricket loving public was surprised at their selections again and again.
The statement made by the captain and a selector stating that they had picked the best eleven seems a lame excuse as it was evident to cricket lovers, that probably an inner hand was responsible in trying to “brew a storm in a tea cup” through favouritism or any other means which would be detrimental to Sri Lanka cricket in the future.
In conclusion, I must mention that our country having a high literacy rate, it is time our finger spinning sensation Ajantha Mendis be given a little coaching in day-to-day English, instead of always having an interpreter whenever he faced a commentator in the future.
Clarence Anthony Fernando



 Sumanawathie Vidanagamage                   

Teacher with social work at heart

Mrs. Sumanawathi Vidanage, retired Vice Principal passed away recently. She was the beloved wife of T. G. Karunarathne, retired Accountant, Electricity Board. Vidanagamage’s residence was at Bogahawatta Road, Pannipitiya. She was serving as Vice Principal of Dharmasoka Maha Vidyalayaya, Maharagama for a long period. Her home town was Bopagoda in Akuressa area. As they came to Colombo on transfer, they built their house close to our residence.

She was an excellent teacher. She was a great help to her husband for his social services in the area. She rendered a great service to the Buddhist Temples in the area. Her children are well educated and one son is employed in Australia. We never expected her sudden death at the age of 66 years. May she attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.

Asoka Karunaratne


J. M. Chandrasekera

Dedicated social worker

J.M. Chandrasekera, retired Court Magistrate passed away and his funeral took place at the Public Cemetery before a large gathering. Chandrasekera’s residence is close to Pannipitiya junction passing YMBA building. In fact, his home town was Handapangoda and later on he built his home in Pannipitiya as he was working in Colombo. I came to know him when he was attached to Homagama Courts.

He was a very dedicated public servant. He was a social worker in the Pannipitiya area after his retirement. While at the same time he was an indispensable person to the Buddhist Temples in the area. He was a leading member of YMBA Pannipitiya.
He was a kind-hearted person who associated with his friends in such a way. I had never seen him in an angry mood. I really never expected his sudden death so soon. Fortunately his children also follow his footsteps.

Chandrasekera is no more with us. He had gone to another world without our knowledge. This is the nature of the journey of life. May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.

Asoka Karunaratne


Col. Fazly Laphir


In memory of Colonel Fazly Laphir, PWV, RWP, RSP, Commanding Officer, 1st Regiment Special Forces, who died in action on July 19, 1996 while on the rescue mission in Mullaitivu.

My dearest darling Fazly

Everyone can prove oneself
If things are well and fair
Greatness lies in how u act
When things are
Tough and unfair

When things were not certain
You gave more than your share
That was the reason
That made you
Much more than rare.

A hero is someone who stands up against fear
And not when you are not afraid.
A man is someone who can be so clear
When everyone else is confused.

This world is so strange - it’s only reality change
In this you were innocent, steadfast and true
I am humbly proud that I could share this life
And it was with someone as natural as you!

Your ever loving Ano







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