Environmental complaints pile up against proposed joint venture coal power plant with Indians

By Ifham Nizam

The Central Environment Authority (CEA) has received a large number of complaints as regards the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the forthcoming second coal power project in Trincomalee.

 With the public hearings on the second coal fired power plant at Sampur, Trincomalee scheduled to come to an end today (March 31), officials are making plans to call tenders in May.

The process may have to be further delayed with some nongovernmental environmental organizations opposing the methodology and process, according to sources.

 CEA Chairman Prof. Lal Mervin Dharmasiri, contacted for comment, confirmed that the public hearing on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was under way and they had received a number of complaints.

A senior CEB engineer said that though it was a joint venture, everything was done according to the whims and fancies of the Indian company and he was confident it would be able to go ahead despite the objections raised by many.

The joint venture partner the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India has, after a delay of six months, submitted its proposals for an EIA to the CEA for the setting up of Sri Lanka’s second coal-powered power plant earlier this year.

 Meanwhile, the CEB officials said that everything possible would be done to expedite the project as it had to be operational by 2017 to avoid power shortages.

 Trincomalee Power Company Limited is responsible for the implementation and operation of the proposed 250MWx2 coal power plant complex. The total estimated cost of the project is USD 512 million.

  It will comprise two 250MW generators whose power will be transmitted to the national grid via high voltage transmission lines from Sampur via Habarana to the Veyangoda Grid Substations.

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