It is reported that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has completed the feasibility report on a grid connectivity project between India and Sri Lanka. Although it is desirable to be self-sufficient in this vital utility for socio-economic development and not be dependent on another country and be at their mercy subjected to other influences and directives, thus lose sovereignty, small countries like Sri Lanka with limited land area needed primarily for agriculture to grow food crops cannot afford to allocate vast acres of land for solar projects; a one Mw plant requires four to five acres of land.
Apart from the allocation of precious land, it would mean deforestation, the destruction of indigenous vegetation as no plant life is possible under these large solar panels. As trees and plants do not grow under these large panels, oxygen and carbon dioxide produced by vegetation will be reduced, and the consequences I need not mention as even a schoolboy knows the importance and value for all living beings inclusive of plant life.
The government is said to be considering having floating solar panels in hydro-reservoirs without having any regard to aquatic life and inland fishing. The scenic beauty of these reservoirs will be lost much to the detriment of tourism industry. It is hoped that India is sincerely helping Sri Lanka. In doing so, India safeguards herself from Chinese expansionism in the Asian region.
G. A. D. Sirimal