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Protest campaign tomorrow by several TUs

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The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) workers will engage in a protest in Colombo tomorrow (3rd) to oppose the Yugadanavi agreement with an American company.

Speaking to the Daily News, CEB Employees’ Union Convener Ranjan Jayalal said this was not a strike action and they would not deliberately hamper the power supply to the country. But, he added that as most of the technical staff too would be engaged in the protest, attending to sudden breakdowns maybe delayed.

However, Jayalal said that at this point, the Government “would be happy if the CEB unions launch a strike as power outages are imminent with coal stocks diminishing rapidly”. He said: “Currently, there are enough coal supplies only to last around three weeks. The Government is facing difficulty securing coal supplies as all those who have bid for the coal tenders are requesting payment in dollars. Hence, they would be happy if we launch a strike so that they would be able to blame us and buy more time. Although we will launch a strike at some point, we will not do it now because the Government is waiting to take advantage.”

He said that one coal powered generator at the Lakvijaya plant has been stopped due to the lack of coal. However, he added that with adequate rains experienced, power generation is mainly dependent on hydropower. “Hydropower though can only manage the day-time load and coal has to be used to meet the night-time demand.”

Hence, he warned that unless the Government can secure coal supply before the stocks in hand runs out, it is inevitable that the country will face a power crisis.

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