The Sunday Leader

Environmentalists Up In Arms Over Kithulgala Project

by Ifham Nizam

Environmentalists, researchers and scientists are up in arms against a power project proposal that would be detrimental to the biodiversity in Kithulgala, especially affecting freshwater fish species in the vicinity.

Last Friday, a group of environmentalists opposed the involvement of Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and high level officials in approving the Kithulgala Mini Hydropower Project proposed by Vallible Lanka, to dam the Kelani River about 700m downstream of the Kithulgala Rest House to generate 7.3MW of electricity.

“This will dry up one kilometer stretch of the river and create a stagnant water body upstream up to 500 metres. We have learnt that this issue will be taken up at a top-level meeting chaired by the Energy Minister on May 20, 2016,” Centre for Justice (CEJ) Executive Director Hemantha Withanage said.

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was approved by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) (Kithulgala Hydropower (Pvt.) Ltd., in 2011 disregarding the environmental impacts.

Survival of natural population of point endemic Hora Tree species Balanocarpus kitulgellensis (Family Dipterocarpaceae) in the project influencing zone is threatened due to the project. Twelve fish species, particularly Systomus asoka (Asoka pethiya), that use the project influenced river segment for life cycle processes, is threatened due to project activities which was not taken into consideration during the EIA, The Sunday Leader reliably learns. Minister Siyambalapitiya could not be reached for a comment.

1 Comment for “Environmentalists Up In Arms Over Kithulgala Project”

  1. Brinsly Peter

    If all Warehouses and Factories are encouraged to use Sola Tube for day time
    lighting and also the Electricity Board pays something even less than what they pay for private hydro electricity suppliers FOR EXCESS POWER GENERATED BY SOLAR POWER USERS, the requirement to purchase power can be greatly reduced. Why do our Parliamentarians who enjoy all the perks from the common mans VAT and other taxes think of this.

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