Thondaman to meet Akashi on Kotmale dam issue
[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 September 2003, 00:14 GMT]
The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), a key constituent of the United National Front government, is to hold talks with the Japanese special peace envoy, Mr.Yasushi Akashi, on Monday regarding the proposed construction of the Kotmale Dam Electricity Project in the hill country with Japanese aid, sources said.
The CWC is vehemently opposed to the construction of Kotmale dam, saying the dam would cause irreparable damage to the eco-system of the area and would weaken the
strength of hill country Tamils in Kotmale, sources said.
Following opposition from one of the constituent parties of the UNF government, the Prime Minister, Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, has now asked the CWC leader and minister, Mr.Arumugam Thondaman, to take up the issue with Mr. Akashi and sort it out. Hence the Japanese embassy has allocated Monday for Mr.Thondaman to meet Mr. Akashi, sources said.
The UNP deputy leader and Minister for Power and Energy in the UNF government, Mr.Karu Jayasuriya, has said that the Kotmale project would be implemented inspite of opposition by the CWC, led by Minister Thondaman.
"I have got the cabinet approval and all arrangements have been made to commence the work," said Mr.Jayasuriya.
Mr.Thondaman has said that hill country Tamils would rebel against the construction of Kotmale dam if the government went ahead without heeding to the opposition by them.
"Tamils in the northeast province took to armed struggle because the parties in power ignored their aspirations. The same situation would arise if the UNF government ignores
the aspirations of hill country Tamils," Mr.Thondaman has said in a statement.