‘Switch to solar panels’

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Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekara, referring to the recent statement made by Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera on increased electricity tariffs, said all religious institutions including Buddhist temples should use solar panels, in light of the current economic situation.

Wijesekara was responding to Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera’s statement that the latter refused to pay an increased electricity bill for the temple.

The Minister said he was willing to assist Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera, who understands politics, and is willing to make a generous contribution to take the lead on the solar panel concept.

Wijesekara said in his opinion, all religious places in the country should be fitted with solar panels.

“The Thera endorsed a system change in the country. Is this how he is implying a system change by refusing to pay electricity bills? I don’t think it is acceptable for someone like Ven. Thera to make such a statement,” he added.

Further, Wijesekara said, if Ven. Sobhitha Thera takes the initiative to install solar panels at his temple, he as Minister of Power and Energy, is ready to lead the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and provide full support to that programme.

“I suggest that the country’s Maha Sangha take the lead in this effort. When the former President, then Prime Minister, discussed this at the former Cabinet, I stated that even if the price is decreased, we will have to find alternative methods. Someone else must pay for the compensation granted to religious places. I do not want to put anyone under pressure,” he said.

BY Thameenah Razeek