President Gotabaya Rajapaksa meets Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
- Instructs officials to implement project according to proper technical procedures and environmental requirements
- Suggests permanent solutions for issues affecting people’s day-to-day lives
- Steps taken to meet 80% of energy requirement through renewable energy by 2030
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has drawn his attention to resolve environmental and social issues caused by the Norochcholai coal power plant.
He has directed the authorities to ensure that the coal power plant is operated according to proper technical procedures and environmental standards, without upsetting the lives of the people in the area. The President made these remarks during a meeting held at the President’s Office yesterday with the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Bishop of Chilaw and other priests, residents and environmentalists in the area.
The attention of the President was drawn to the damages caused to the environment as well as issues disrupting the day-to-day lives of the people due to non-adherence to environmental standards agreed upon at the time of the project’s commencement. Accordingly relevant officials and authorities in charge of the project will be summoned by the President in the immediate future to provide guidance in this regard. Outlining the pivotal role of uninterrupted energy supply in the rapid development of the country, President Rajapaksa pointed out that the Government was keen on focusing on alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power, going forward, which is sustainable and could be produced at a lower cost.
He said the Government intends to generate 80% of the country’s total energy demand utilising renewable energy sources by 2030, and guidelines have already been issued to conduct continuous follow-ups. The President also said a team comprising the Power and Energy Minister, relevant engineers and others will be deployed to review the activities at the Norochcholai power plant in the near future. Noting that he plans to visit the site soon, the President assured he would take immediate action to address prevailing concerns with the consultation of religious leaders and the residents in the area.
Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said that the President has an uphill task before him in the process of developing the country, whilst getting rid of corruption and irregularities.
The Cardinal also expressed his regret over the indiscretions which occurred during the implementation of foreign-funded projects in the recent past.
At present, the three phases of the Norochcholai power plant have added 900 MWs to the national grid. However, no final decision has been taken yet regarding the fourth phase.