Demonstration against Upper Kotmale Project in Colombo, Sri Lanka
More than two hundred activists belonging to civil groups opposed to Upper Kotmale Hydro-power scheme demonstrated in front of Colombo Fort Railway station Friday afternoon, sources in Colombo said. Members of leftist political parties and other related civil groups including Sinhalese and Tamils participated in the demonstration. Upcountry Tamil political parties did not attend the demonstration.
Sri Lanka Government says the scheme will produce nearly 150 MW electric power capacity to the grid which is struggling to meet the increasing electric power demands of consumersand industrial infrastructure of Sri Lanka.
"We successfully organized a demonstration in the upcountry on May 15. But the government did not take notice of that. Now we have organized another demonstration in Colombo. We would be holding demonstration in every district. All communities are participating in our struggle contrary to the government' stand that we are communal," said Mr.Thambiah.
Upper Kotmale is a 150 MW plant hydropower project proposed by Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) which is a Government Agency responsible for generation of electricity in Sri Lanka during the UNP government in 1987. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project was submitted for approval of the Ministry of Irrigation Powerand Energy in December 1994 and Central Environmental Authority was the concurrent agency. The project was approved in 1998.
The demand for electricity in Sri Lanka has been growing at an average annual rate of 8%. Dependence on costly thermal power was increased from 21% in 1990 to 35% in 2000. Power generation will need to be increased from 6,800 GWh in 2000 to about 15,000 GWh in 2013. The share of hydropower is expected to decrease to 32%. The balance willbe met by thermal power generation.