Feb 22, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena today instructed relevant authorities to complete the construction of the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development project by August this year and provide its benefits to the people.
About 92 projects of the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development project have been completed by now and the President instructed the engineers in charge of the project to expedite the remaining work on the project.
The President today (22) made an inspection visit to look into the progress of the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project today (22).
The Uma Oya project, the largest multipurpose project in the country, is being implemented with an investment of US $ 535 million.
The President also inspected the underground power plant being constructed under the Uma Oya Multipurpose Project. The power plant, which will add 120 MW of power to the national grid is near completion.
The Uma Oya Multipurpose Project is to provide irrigation water for the Maha season to 5000 acres of lands in the Dry Zone of the South and South West as well as to replenish about 300 small reservoirs in Moneragala and Wellawaya areas.
The multi-purpose project involves 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 the power generator further downstream.
The 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.
The President also inspected the construction of the two reservoirs at Puhulpola and Diaraba and the construction of the main tunnel.
The work on the project is continuing with proper assessment of environmental impacts and constant attention, the President's Media Division said.
The controversial project has become catastrophic for the people in the Uva Province. Residents in the vicinity of the project, especially in Bandarawela area claim that over 7,000 homes have been damaged by the construction of the massive underground tunnels and the fresh water springs and reservoirs have dried up in many areas in the Uva Province.
The project at an estimated cost of US$ 529 million was launched by the previous government in 2012 with a US$ 450 million loan from Iran.
Secretary to the Mahaweli Development and Environment Ministry Anura Dissanayake, Iranian Ambassador and other officials were also present at the observation.