President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that temples and other religious places with high electricity consumption will be identified and a proper study will be done to provide a continuous service for electricity demand management and electricity conservation to those places with the intervention of the Government mechanism, under the leadership of the Power and Energy Ministry.
The President in a letter to the Mahanayake Theras of the Malwatte, Asgiriya, Amarapura and Ramannaya Chapters about the difficulties faced by religious institutions due to the increase in the electricity tariff has stated that he will have a system in place to take care of the religious places..
The President has stressed that it is very important that we install solar panels to religious shrines that have a very high consumption of electricity and the need to go for a long term solution than a short term relief mechanism. These to be considered to be given to such places at cost or the needed funds so that sola panels can be installed.
The President also has intimated that a suitable mechanism would be drawn up based on the advice and input of the Mahanayaka Theras so that it will not hamper any religious event planned that has been planned in the respective religious places. With this he has noted that this method is to ensure that all religious rituals could be carried out without hindrance and that the society will get the ultimate benefit.
The President expressed his gratitude to the Venerable Maha Sangha for their contribution on conserving electricity at religious shrines and the precedent it sets for society.
In his letter, the President has said that the electricity crisis has arisen as a direct result of the country’s snowballing economic crisis over the last few years, and that he sees it as the responsibility of the Government led by him to resolve all these issues in a systematic manner for the benefit of the people and the religious community of the country.
Currently, 15,527 Buddhist shrines and other registered religious and social services use less than 30 units of electricity. Another 9,441 consume between 31-90 units of electricity, 3,274 places consume between 91-120 units of electricity and 4,972 religious places consume between 121-180 units of electricity.
Even under the new electricity charges, the highest monthly electricity bill of 33,214 registered Buddhist temples and other religious and social services, is less than Rs. 4,000. Only the nearly 9,800 locations that consume more than 180 units have higher charges.
Accordingly, these can be categorized into two groups as temples or other religious places that consume less than 180 units of electricity and those that consume more than 180 units of electricity. It is a fact that with the revision of the new electricity bill, places with high electricity consumption of more than 180 units will be affected,” the letter stated.
Information courtesy: the daily news.lk