COLOMBO: The environmental NGO “Green Trincomalee” is mulling legal action against the proposed Indo-Sri Lankan project to build a 500 MW coal-fired power plant at Sampur in the Tamil-speaking East Lankan district of Trincomalee.
“The environmental impact study done by the Central Environment Authority was conducted when there were no people in the area. The people had been driven out at the beginning of Eelam War IV in August 2006 and they had returned only recently. The environmental impact report, which cleared the project, had not taken into account its impact on the farmers, fishermen and tribals of the area,” Green Trincomalee leader Thirunavukkarasu Gopahan told Express on Sunday.
“The construction of the jetty for bringing in coal will disrupt fishing, which has only now resumed after a gap of a decade. With the coming of two power plants, one an Indo-Lankan joint venture and the other to be set up by the Japanese, the air will be polluted to such an extent that agriculture will suffer. And Sampur was known for its agriculture,” Gopahan said.
The affected people have been demonstrating against the proposed plants in vain. The Lankan government is determined to go ahead with the projects while assuring that these will be the last thermal power plants. But this is no consolation for the people of Sampur.
Green Trincomalee is also dismayed by India’s silence and the Tamil National Alliance’s ambivalence on the issue.