Monks protest electricity tariff hike

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All citizens should come together to call on the Government to subsidise the cost of the monthly electricity bill for religious places, as the clergy are finding it difficult to afford it, Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera said.

Numerous protests organised by Buddhist monks were held across the country claiming that temples are unable to pay their electricity bills for the month following the tariff hike.

Temples in villages without a sufficient source of income are currently under threat, according to Ven. Balapitiye Dhammika Thera, President of Balapitiya Viharadhipathi Association.

Ven. Thera claimed that instead of the usual Rs. 9,100 bill that his temple receives; it is now Rs 41,000. “People visit the temple to perform Bodi Pooja between 10 and 11 p.m. Now that has stopped,” he said.

Speaking to the Media, Ven. Katapola Samitha Thera said, they are not requesting a subsidy they already have but rather some sort of subsidy to help them make ends meet. Meanwhile, Ven. Sobhitha Thera claimed that his temple’s electricity bill, which was previously Rs 58, 000, has now reached Rs 300,000.

According to Ven. Omare Kassapa Thera, 95 per cent of temples nationwide do not receive any funding and should not be treated like the other five per cent. He said, “We request Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara to reconsider this decision.”

By Thameenah Razeek