Karu to furnish Thonda answers

by Namini Wijedasa
Power and Energy Minister Karu Jayasuriya will furnish Housing Minister Arumugam Thondaman with a list of answers when the two meet again on July 3 over the Upper Kotmale Hydro Power (UKHP) Project.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s cabinet has decided that Jayasuriya and technical experts should clarify Thondaman’s concerns as best they could at the upcoming meeting. Thondaman will make his decision on UKHP based on these answers. CEB sources confirmed that responses were being drafted.

R. Yogarajan, national organiser of Arumugam’s Ceylon Workers’ Congress, said that they would go for the discussion "with an open mind."

"We are now waiting for answers to the questionnaire we presented to Minister Jayasuriya," Yogarajan said. "If the technical issues can be answered by technical people to the satisfaction of everybody, we will give the green light for the project. We are looking at all issues with an open mind."

Yogarajan denied that the CWC had declared war by canvassing the Mahanayake’s support for the project earlier this month. The chief priests of the Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters declared themselves against the UKHP after a meeting with Thondaman and his party members in Kandy.

"We had planned that meeting for a long time but when we got the appointment, Upper Kotmale was the burning issue," he explained. "That led it to be discussed and we found that the Mahanayakes had already made up their minds against the project. It is not that we canvassed them for support."

The CWC has lodged several complaints against the project and has asked for clarifications on points such as the danger of erosion.