Feature Article
2ND LEAD (Update)

Colombo wants to grab lands once again for power plants in Champoor

[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 July 2019, 23:49 GMT]
The occupying Sinhala-Buddhist unitary state in Colombo has once again schemed to acquire the agricultural and residential lands of the Eezham Tamils in Champoor in Trincomalee for the construction of two power plants. The project seems to have been outsourced to a Japanese firm this time. The Tamil people were protesting against the controversial project as the SL authorities came to survey the locality last week. Former Provincial Land Commissioner to East, Kathrigamathamby Kurunathan, who made a trip to help the Tamil landowners earlier this week, condemned the latest acquisition of lands as a fundamental violation of the human rights of the resettling Tamils. Furthermore, the land expert characterised the project as detrimental to the environment, which has already been compromised by the five cement plants already constructed in the eastern port city.

Whether the plant is going to be a coal-fired power plant or an atomic one is not yet known, Mr Kathirgamathamby told TamilNet in an interview this week.

The SL Cabinet has approved the construction of two coal power plants: A 300 MW coal power plant (high efficient coal, phase I) and a 300 MW (high efficient coal, phase II), according to a report by The Sunday Times on 23 June.

Colombo Trincomalee Economic Corridor [CTEC]
The Sinhala establishment has been long planning to link its Colombo and Gampha regions with Trincomalee through an Economic Corridor linking Kurunegala, Matale, Anuradhapura, Dambulla, and Harbarana. A blue-print to this effect was ‘developed’ by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2017 and the project was named ‘Colombo Trincomalee Economic Corridor’ - CTEC. The UNP regime has also added Mannaar as a component following India's intervention. As a result, the unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka is extending its Sinhalicisation agenda also to Mannaar. [Image Courtesy: Presentation by ADB's Director General for South Asia Region Hun Kim in 2017]
This project seems to be a part of ‘Colombo Trincomalee Economic Corridor’ - CTEC. The occupying Sinhala-Buddhist establishment has been long planning to link its Colombo and Gampha regions with Trincomalee through an Economic Corridor linking Kurunegala, Matale, Anuradhapura, Dambulla, and Harbarana. A blue-print to this effect was ‘developed’ by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2017.

Japan, an ally of the USA is deeply involved in the projects at Trincomalee. The US Indo-Pacific Command is grooming a marine force for the SL Navy in Champoor after 2009.

The attempts to grab lands for Sinhala Buddhicisation of Tamil heritage in Kanniyaa, Thennai-maravadi and other places must also be seen in the larger context of external agenda, Tamil observers in Trincomalee said.

At least two hundred and forty acres of agricultural and residential lands, including several irrigation reservoirs (tanks) and two temples, are going to be seized in Choodaik-kudaa and Koonith-theevu near Champoor, according to former Provincial Land Commissioner Kathirgamathamby.

Such power plants could be easily put up in remote areas such as Habarana between Trincomalee and Colombo. Why does the SL State pushing ahead with such a controversial power plant again in Trincomalee, he asked and added that the North-East could not be allowed to become a dumping ground.

The Land Commissioner General of the SL State has given instructions to the Provincial Land Commissioner and to the Divisional Secretariat informing his decision to allocate the lands to a Japanese construction company to launch the project.

India abandoned the earlier plan for a coal power plant. The Indian High Commissioner in Colombo at that time Mr Ashok K. Kantha was invited by the then Bishop of Trincomalee Kingsley Swampillai for a meeting with Mr Kurunathan some years ago during the regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa back in 2013. After getting informed of the disastrous consequences, Mr Kantha made a promise that India would not be a party to such an injustice.

Some of the people had managed to secure their lands from the SL Navy only a few days ago. And now they are being told that the occupying Colombo has other plans for their lands.

This is entirely in violation of the good practices specified in the ‘National Involuntary Resettlement Policy’, which was adopted by the SL Cabinet in June 2001. Colombo was also violating the judicial public trust doctrine articulated in the SL Constitution, he commented further.

Seven acres of agricultural lands as well as 10 acres of residential lands at Pzhaiya-Choodaik-kudaa, 13 acres of lands Pokkaiyan-ku'lam, 50 acres at Choalaik-ku'lam, 24 acres atPaalaiyadik-ku'lam-ve'li, 40 acres at Kaddaik-kaaddu-ve'lik-ku'lam, 50 acres at Puli-kuththina-ku'lam-ve'li, 30 acres at Vaakan-ku'lam-ve'li, 4 acres at Raal-kuzhi, 10 acres in Periya-poddan-ku'la-ve'li, 10 acres at Chinnap-paoaddan-ku'la-ve'li, 10 acres at Kollan-ku'la-ve'li and 40 acres at Kodukkan-ku'la-ve'li seem to be absorbed into the plan, Mr Kathirgamathamby said.

The latest move is only the beginning of massive industrialisation which is going to change the demographic pattern of Trincomalee altogether as the powers backing Colombo want to shape the infrastructure of the Eastern port, according to their naval and maritime perspectives for the Indian Ocean.

External Links:
The Sunday Times: Cabinet approves four coal power plants, moves to reduce PUCSL’s authority



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