Aug 07, Moneragala: Sri Lanka today inaugurated another mega multi-purpose development project in the Uva Province to irrigate the farm lands in the dry zones of south east and generate hydroelectricity.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today commenced the construction of the main tunnel of the Uma Oya multipurpose project which will benefit the farmers in Moneragala, Badulla and Ampara districts.
The multi-purpose project will involve the construction of two reservoirs on tributaries of the Uma Oya, which flows down from central hills and join the Mahaweli River, and one tunnel on the Uma Oya to divert water to a power generator further downstream.
This project will include construction of two rolling compact concrete dams, an underground hydropower plant with 134 MW capacity and about 25 Km underground tunnel.
Under the Uma Oya Hydropower project water will be diverted to Kirindi Oya basin which will take water to Hambantota through the 25 km long underground tunnel across mountains in Bandarawela by creating a dam at Puhulpola in Welimada and a reservoir in Diaraba.
Once completed, the project will irrigate 5,000 hectares of agricultural land by conveying water from Uma Oya River to south eastern region of Sri Lanka.
The project is estimated to cost US$ 529 million. The Government of Sri Lanka is financing 15 percent of the project with a US$450 million loan from Export Development Bank of Iran.
During a visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2008, Iran signed an agreement to provide financial and technical assistance to Uma Oya hydropower project.
The Project will be constructed by the Hardish Engineering Company of Iran. The duration of project is about 5 years.
Around 714 families including 280 houses that will be displaced by the development will get blocks of land ranging from 10 to 40 perches, from the Uva Paranagama, Moragollawatte, Welimada and Wellawaya areas, the government said.
Meanwhile, the President also chaired the progress review meeting of the Moneragala district this morning to discuss issues related to education, tourism, agriculture and development in the district.
The meeting has focused on declaring a tourist zone covering the Moneragala, Buttala and Kataragama areas.
Moneragala district parliamentarians, ministers and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga participated in the development meeting.
(Photos by Nalin Hewapathirana)