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JVP to take legal action against CEB

2014 Jun 09

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Puttalam People's Voice (PPV) yesterday said they will be taking legal action against the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).
The JVP, the Puttalam People's Voice and the All Island General Fisheries Federation state that they do not want the holding column towers carrying high tension wires and high voltage electricity power lines connecting Anuradhapura and the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant's third phase to distribute electricity, to be built in the biodiversity rich Puttalam Lagoon or in islands in the Lagoon as this will cause an environmental disaster and precipitate a serious threat to fishermen and fisher families' livelihood.
Meanwhile, the PPV said they will be protesting continuously.
The Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management's Geology Unit is presently conducting soil tests in Crocodile Island (Kimbul Doopatha) under the protection of the Sri Lanka Navy provided by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.
After an argument with the Sri Lanka Navy, over 250 fishermen last week went to Crocodile Island in the Puttalam Lagoon in boats, raised symbolic black flags and inspected the soil test and constructions including excavations being conducted which were authorized by the CEB through its contractor – Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB).
Chairman of the CECB, N. Rupasinghe, said, "We are working for a Chinese company as a contractor investigating the foundations and drilling holes. We check whether or not the towers can be erected in their required capacities."
Puttalam District Organizer of the JVP and Chairman of the PPV, Samantha Koralearachchi said, "Earlier nine holding column towers that were to be constructed in the middle of the Lagoon but now they have brought it down to six. Two will be in two islands with a 700 metre gap between them and the balance four will be in a narrow area in the Lagoon of nearly 4.2 kilometres. We still do not agree with this as it will divide the Lagoon."
National Organizer of the All Island General Fisheries Federation, Rathna Gamage, said, "The government did not reveal the construction plans properly. We have asked JVP Leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, to take this up in Parliament."
Not available
Chairman of the CEB, W.B. Ganegala, and General Manager of the CEB, W.J.L. Shavindranath Fernando, were not available for comment but Additional General Manger (Projects) of the CEB, L.A.S. Fernando, said, "The country needs this and thus we have handed over the entire programme to the Navy, who will assist in the construction, while ensuring the safety of the personnel working on the project."
Navy Media Spokesman, Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya, while denying that the Navy was involved in the construction of the holding column towers added that they were only assisting with soil testing and also looking after the safety and security of those working on the project.
L.A.S. Fernando added that, while this type of thing happens abroad, where they even drag holding column towers through the sea, the CEB was arranging to give compensation to anyone who suffers losses.
"Two towers are to be on the islands and one will be in the Lagoon. There is not much of an environmental impact, and the statement that fishing nets get entangled is absurd," he continued. The CEB also said they did not have a problem with the JVP taking legal action as the JVP will have to take action against the government.
"We however do not know their intentions. We have discussed this with the predominantly Muslim folks in the area and also with the Divisional Secretaries and Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman. Puttalam does not have the population distribution that the JVP makes it out to be, as if it is Colombo. We do not know anything about the Kalpitiya Integrated Tourism Resort Project proposed or orchestrated by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority," he said.
JVP Southern Provincial Councillor, Nihal Galappaththi, who took part in the protest last week and Secretary of the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, K.W. Ivan De Silva, were not available for comment.

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