Coal power joint venture with India dropped – Government

Supreme court of Sri Lanka

The Attorney General yesterday told the Supreme Court that the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy would not go ahead with the proposed joint-venture coal-fired power project with India at Sampur, Trincomalee.

The Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam, President’s Counsel, who appeared for the Attorney General explained that the Secretary to the Ministry Dr. Amaranath Batagoda had informed that the Ministry would not go ahead with the proposed project.

The petitioner, the Environmental Foundation Guaranteed Limited, had petitioned the Supreme Court, complaining that the proposed project would pollute the soil and water. The project should be stopped. A proper feasibility project had not been done by the respondent authorities.

President’s Counsel, K. Kanag Ishwaran, appeared for the petitioner.

Among the respondents were Anura Wijayapala, Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board, the Central Environmental Authority, the Public Utilities Commission, the coast Conservation Department, the Ministry of Power Renewable Energy and the Attorney General.

The Bench comprised Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Justice Prasanna Jayawardene.

K. Kanaga Ishwaran P.C. appeared with Vevdani Karunaratne and Gayani Hewawasam for the petitioner, the Environmental Foundation Guaranteed Limited.
The proceedings of the petition were accordingly terminated yesterday.

Environmentalists have consistently pointed out that the 500MW project, if implemented, will cause immense harm to the environment though it had secured the go ahead from the Central Environmental Authority.

Even Northern political leaders have said they would instead prefer to have an LNG run plant, which would be much more environmental friendly.

The Sampur project was to be launched as a joint venture between the Ceylon Electricity Board and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India.

(Source: The Island – By Chitra Weerarathne)