Prime Minister instructs early resumption of Lower Malwathu Oya project

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena instructed senior officials to explore ways and means of early resumption of the Lower Malwathuoya Project that has been halted due to scarcity of funds. He asked the officials to examine the possibility of linking the project with the completed Yan Oya Project of which the reservoir could be used as a mega solar power generation platform by installing floating solar panels. Such a project could generate electricity for the national grid and also earn funds for completion of the Lower Malwathuoya Project.

These issues were discussed after examining a project proposal submitted by the Sinomach China CAMC Engineering Corporation which has built the Yan Oya dam.

Chief Representative of Sinomach, Alex Guo said the China CAMC Company could undertake to raise funds from Chinese banks for the US$ 160 million project. In the first phase, floating solar panels could be placed on Yan Oya reservoir and generate 100 megawatt electricity that could be sold to the national grid.

“A substantial portion of the loan for Lower Malwathuoya project could be met by the income generated by the proposed solar power station in Yan Oya,” Alex Guo said.

Former Minister S M Chandrasena said the first survey and feasibility study for Lower Malwathuoya Project was done more than a decade ago when he was Deputy Minister of irrigation. He lamented that no progress has been made so far.

He said more than 38,000 hectares of land could be irrigated by this project boosting the programme for food security.

The Prime Minister asked SINOMACH Country Representative to explore possibility of investing in fruits and vegetable production in a 50 hectare extent of land for export to China.

MPs S M Chandrasena, Yadamini Gunawardena, Additional Secretary Mahinda Gunaratne and senior officials and project evaluators took part in the discussion.

The Lower Malwathuoya Project envisages construction of 209 MCM capacity reservoir, 3,590 m long earth dam, Radial Gated Spillway, Left Bank, Right Bank and River Sluices, Canal systems to new settlement area and power house. About 70% of the upper catchment of Malwathu Oya is located in the Anuradhapura District while the lower catchment is located in Vavuniya and Mannar districts.