(Reproduced from Daily Mirror of February 14, 2002)
By Munza Mushtaq
The Ceylon Electricity Board’s Vice Chairman M. Zubair and its General Manager D. G. D. C. Wijeratne left for Italy to re-negotiate the Fiat contract regarding the repair of the Fiat gas turbine plant in Kelanitissa, informed sources said.
The Vice Chairman and the General Manager were scheduled to fly to Italy last night to re-negotiate its contract with the Italian company and to persuade the Fiat engineers to fly back to Sri Lanka once again to repair the controversial 115 MW Fiat gas turbine plant in Kelanitissa.
The Fiat machine has been out of commission since August 2001 and the engineers had informed that the machine couldn’t be repaired within a couple of months. The Fiat machine was to provide 10% of the daily power requirement. The plant was also to be a major solution to the present power crisis.
A spokesperson of the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) alleges that the plant did not operate as intended and had been a persistent pain for the power system in Sri Lanka.
The engineers of the Italian company responsible for the repair work were in Sri Lanka last year but left the country during Christmas and were to return soon after Christmas. However they had not returned to date.
Sources said a senior official of the thermal complex had met with the new Power and Energy Minister Karu Jayasuriya and had informed him that the Fiat plant could be repaired by February. The engineers of the CEBEU had then met Minister Jayasuriya, the Secretary of the Ministry and the Chairman of the CEB and informed them not to rely on the Fiat plant as it could not be repaired in a hurry.
The Daily Mirror learns that the performance of the machine had not been in conformity with the stipulated specifications. The actual performance was 60% where as it should have been 92% according to the specification.
The Chairman, the Vice Chairman and the General Manager of the Board were not available for comment.
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