Colombo: A group of monks, priests and nuns has protested in Colombo against the increased electricity tariff amid the financial crisis that has gripped the island nation.
The protests took place on Tuesday in front of the Fort Railway Station, local media Daily Mirror reported, adding that religious leaders claimed that they were unable to pay the bills. Sri Lanka has been suffering a diesel shortage since February, which led to hours of daily power cuts. At present, Sri Lanka is struggling with acute food and electricity shortages, forcing the country to seek help from its neighbours.
Sri Lanka is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has, incidentally, affected its capacity to import food and fuel, leading to power cuts in the country. The shortage of essential goods forced Sri Lanka to seek assistance from friendly countries.
India has been at forefront of extending economic assistance to Sri Lanka as per their requirements and is one of the countries that have provided the maximum amount of assistance in time of need.
In 2022, India extended around USD four billion bilateral assistance to Sri Lanka.
Highlighting India-Sri Lanka's close and longstanding relationship, the High Commission on Tuesday noted that the people of Sri Lanka continue to avail of scholarships for higher education and skills training in premier Indian institutions.
"In addition our bilateral development cooperation projects in Sri Lanka, which cumulatively total about USD 3.5 bn, are ongoing. Sri Lankans also continue to avail of scholarships for higher education and skills training in premier Indian institutions. These aspects of our close and longstanding cooperation with Sri Lanka also contribute to the efforts for addressing Sri Lanka's current economic difficulties," it added.
India under its 'Neighbourhood First' policy, has always come forward to help the debt-ridden island country. India has extended 8 Lines of Credit (LOCs) to Sri Lanka amounting to USD 1,850.64 million in the past 10 years.