February 26, 2020
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    President orders strict eco-friendly compliance for Norochcholai Featured

    January 18, 2020
     

    President Gotabaya Rajapaksa held a discussion with Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and Bishop of Chilaw Rt.Rev. Valence Mendis over the environmental and social issues caused by the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. Residents and environmentalists in the area were present.President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday directed that the Lak Vijaya Power Plant in Norochcholai, the country’s biggest contributor to the national power grid, should be operated strictly according to proper technical procedures and environmental standards in order to avoid or minimise its impact on the local environment and surrounding communities. The President issued this directive yesterday at a special meeting he convened at the President’s Office with representatives of several affected local communities in Norochcholai together with environmental activists and experts, according to a communique from the President’s Media Office.

    The communique said that at the meeting, the attention of the President was drawn to the negative impact by the plant on the environment as well as on the local communities due to non-adherence to the environmental standards agreed at the time of commencement of the project. President Rajapaksa said that the relevant officials and the authorities in charge of the project would be immediately summoned to provide guidance in this regard.

    The country’s sole coal-powered electricity producing plant is located in Norochcholai, Puttalam, at the southern end of the Kalpitiya Peninsula. Construction of the facility began in May 2006. The first 300-megawatt phase was completed and ceremonially commissioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in March 2011. At present, the three phases of Norochcholai has added 900 megawatts to the national grid. No decision has been taken yet regarding the fourth phase. By 2030 it is expected to generate 80% of the total energy demand in the country.

    At yesterday’s meeting, the President highlighted the importance of focusing on alternative energy sources which can be operated at low cost, the communique said. These energy sources should also be environmental and people friendly. The President said a team comprising the Power and Energy Minister, relevant engineers and others will be deployed to review the activities at Norochcholai Power Plant.

    According to the communique, President Rajapaksa has said that he would visit the site soon adding that measures will be taken to address prevailing concerns with the consultation of religious leaders and the residents in the area.

    The President made these remarks during a meeting held at the President’s Office, yesterday with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Bishop of Chilaw Valence Mendis, other clergy, residents and environmentalists of the area. Cardinal Ranjith said that the President has an uphill task before him in the process of developing the country whilst getting rid of corruption and irregularities. The Cardinal expressed his regret over the indiscretions occurred during the implementation of foreign-funded projects in the recent past, the communique said.

     

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