COLOMBO: In the face of impending electricity rate hikes, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged authorities to look into cheaper alternative power generating avenues to overcome the crisis, without placing the full burden on the public. The President has made these observations at the 17th session of the National Economic Council on Friday, where an extensive discussion took place to find viable answers to overcome the power crisis. The President has stressed the importance of completing the construction of Norochcholai coal power plant by 2010, and looking at other renewable natural resources such as the wind to generate power, without heavily depending on fuel. It had been noted that since the Government withdrew its subsidy on fuel where a litre of petrol was provided at Rs.55 to the CEB, the Board had suffered huge losses and had no alternative but to increase the tariff. Attention was also drawn to expedite oil exploration to gain maximum benefits to the country. The authorities pointed out that the Government was still providing the kerosene subsidy at a loss of Rs.300 million monthly. Decisions were also taken to expedite matters regarding water management while imposing tough regulatory measures to arrest abuse.

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