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Last updated: 24 April, 2005 - Published 17:50 GMT
 
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Residents oppose HSZ in Norochcholai
 
Protest on friday in Norochcholai (photo Prasad Purnimal Jayamanna)
Residents say the proposed coal-power plant may lead to a disaster
The impact of the waste powder from the proposed thermal power project in Norochcholai may lead to an environmental disaster, residents in the area said.

The increased security operations for the transported raw material will also destroy the harmony in the Norochcholai area, Austin Rodrigo, president of the Mampuriya Fishermens' Organisation said.

"The coal to be transported from abroad via sea routes. These ships needed to be protected. Their aim is to create a High Security Zone (HSZ) here," he told BBC Sandeshaya (BBC Sinhala).

Hundreds of protesters gathered on Sunday in front of Mampuriya St. Mary's church after the Sunday mass to oppose the proposed coal plant.

Acid smoke

Apart from the Catholics several Islamic priests and Muslims took part in the protest.

 The last feasibility study says the smoke from the coal plant will have an impact even in Anuradhapura
 
Austin Rodrigo

Rodrigo said the fisher folk will not be allowed to earn their living freely in a HSZ.

The agriculture in the area, specially the rice crop, will also be destroyed by acid rain if the plans go ahead, he warned.

"The last feasibility study says the smoke from the coal plant will have an impact even in Anuradhapura."

President's pledge

Protests held in the late 90s were abandoned after Bishop of Chilaw Frank Marcus Fernando told devotees gathered at the St. Ann's church in Talawila of a written promise by the government that the construction of the plant will be stopped.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga publicly announced in 2000 that the government had decided to call off the power project in Norochcholai.

"After careful consideration of the responses and appeals of the leaders of the Catholic community of the area and Ministers of the Puttalam district on this particular project, President decided not to go ahead with the power plant," government's offical website announced in July 2000.

 
 
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