Cardinal Ranjith Sounds Death Knell For Coal Power Plants


There should be no more commissioning of coal fired power plants and steps should be taken to put an end to the proposed additional 600MW of coal power projects at Norchcholai, Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said yesterday.

Speaking at a forum titled `Is coal solution to the energy crisis?’ at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Research Centre in Colombo, Cardinal Ranjith stressed that if possible the Norochcholai plant too should be stopped. The forum was organised by the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) and coordinated by CEJ executive Director Hemantha Withnage. Cardinal said that there were number of alternatives, thus the country did not need to go for coal power plants.

He stressed that people’s living rights could not be hampered by promoting such plants, adding that they opposed the first coal fired plant and now public was experiencing the consequences, citing as examples increasing number of respiratory diseases and fly ash from the plant destroying the agriculture sector, particularly cultivations diminishing in the vicinity. He also said that due to environmental pollution, people in Kalpitiya were getting yellow coloured water. Australia was a country full of coal, thus they would promote coal in different names like clean coal etc., he said adding that Sri Lanka shouldn’t follow.

Ven. Athuraliya Rathana urged Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera to summon the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) for a cordial discussion at the earliest. He said that CEB couldn’t be the one and only party when it came to decision making. “CEB tells lot of lies which is not good,” the Thera said. Minister Amaraweera agreed to arrange a meeting within two weeks, when Thera said one month was too long.

The Thera also said that he supported President Gotabaya Rajapaksa not because he was going to win, but because he had better policies on renewable energy and agricultural. He said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised to press ahead with renewable energy when he had discussions. However, the Thera believed public consensus was the key.