The Sunday Leader

FR Filed Against Coal Power Project

by Ifham Nizam

Environmental Foundation (Guarantee) Limited (EFL) filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) application in the Supreme Court objecting to the use of coal as a source of energy generation and in particular for the proposed second coal fired power plant in Sampur, Trincomalee.

The respondents for the case include, among others, the Ceylon Electricity Board, Central Environmental Authority and Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy.

The grievances highlighted in the petition include the discrepancies in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as well as the long term environmental and health impacts that a coal power plant will invariably cause.

The petition also notes that this move is contrary to the long term power generation plan of the government. The petitioner focuses on the unsuitability of coal in terms of health, highlighting the impacts already felt in Norochcholai, and economic benefit when compared with LNG.

The Sampur Coal Power Plant was proposed as a joint venture between the CEB and National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) of India and a Memorandum of Agreement was signed among the Government of Sri Lanka, CEB and NTPC.

Subsequently, a company was formed between the CEB and NTPC named Trincomalee Power Company on September 2006, 2011 in equal partnership to produce and sell power generated by pulverized coal fired technology to the CEB. The Trincomalee Power Company Limited was to establish two coal based power plants with a total capacity of 500MW, covering 505 acres of land in Sampur, Trincomalee. The coal would be imported by Lanka Coal Company through sea routes from countries such as Indonesia, India and Australia.

On February 2, 2016, the EIA Report for this project was granted approval by the CEA. This is despite the fact that the Supreme Court revoked the Gazette of May 17, 2012, which declared a Special Zone for Heavy Industries in Sampur in (S.C. F.R. No. 309/2012) and that the project site had drastically changed as internally displaced people had begun to be resettled in their original lands in Sampur, an official said.


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