President Gotabaya Rajapaksa mediates to resolve environmental and social issues caused by the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant.
He directed that the coal power plant should be operated according to proper technical procedures and environmental standards.
The President made these remarks during a meeting held at the President’s Office, today (17) with the Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Bishop of Chilaw and other priests, residents and environmentalists in the area.
The attention of the President was drawn to the damages caused to the environment as well as issues created to the day-today lives of the people 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 will be immediately summoned to provide guidance in this regard.
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. Energy plays a pivotal role in the rapid development of the country. Hence, President highlighted the importance of focusing on alternative energy sources which can be produced at low cost. These sources should also be environmental and people friendly. 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.
President said he too will 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.
By 2030 it is expected to generate 80% of the total energy demand in the country utilizing renewable energy sources. Guidelines had been issued to conduct continuous follow ups.
His Eminence Malcolm 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.