A consignment of 40,000 metric tonnes of diesel from India reached Sri Lanka on Saturday, the fourth such assistance from New Delhi, to mitigate the spike in power cuts in the island nation, which is facing an unprecedented economic and energy crisis caused due to shortage of foreign exchange.
Power cuts lasting over 13 hours were imposed on Thursday in Sri Lanka, the longest cut since 1996 when a strike by the state power entity employees caused a 72-hour black out.
Officials of the state fuel entity, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), said the Indian diesel supplies would ease the ongoing power cuts. The power cuts effective Saturday are over 8.5 hours.
“More fuel supplies delivered by #India to #SriLanka! A consignment of 40,000 MT of diesel under #Indian assistance through Line of Credit of $500 mn was handed over by (the) High Commissioner to Hon’ble Energy Minister Gamini Lokuge in #Colombo today,” the Indian High Commission here tweeted.
India recently announced that it will extend a USD 1 billion line of credit to Sri Lanka as part of its financial assistance to the country to deal with the economic crisis following a previous USD 500 billion line of credit (LoC) in February to help it purchase petroleum products.
“This is the fourth consignment under the LoC. Fuel delivered from #IndianWells to people of #SriLanka in (the) last 50 days is about 200,000T,” the High Commission said.
The CEB also announced the resumption of power berating operations at Kerawalapitiya Thermal Power Plant after the receipt of supplies from LIOC, the Lankan subsidiary of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). The LIOC is to supply 6,000 MT diesel to the thermal plant.
Sri Lanka is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in history. Long lines for fuel, cooking gas, short supply of essentials and long hours of power cuts have triggered public unrest in the island nation.