Economic Development activities are about building infrastructures such as highways, power plants and hydro dams for distribution of water resources than just building homes and commercial buildings. The related construction unquestionably impacts the community and like most things in life that impact isn’t merely black and white, but it sits in the gray area, meaning it has both a positive and negative impact on the community as a whole. It is the responsibility of the authorities involved to avoid or minimise its impact on the local environment and surrounding communities. Unfortunately, there has been many development projects in the recent past that has had negative impacts overweighing the intended positive impacts. The President was drawn to the negative impact caused by the plant on the environment as well as on the local communities due to non-adherence to the environmental standards agreed at the time of commencement of the Lak Vijaya Power Plant in Norochcholai, the country’s biggest contributor to the national power grid.
The construction of these facilities began in May 2006, as country’s sole coal-powered electricity producing plant located in Norochcholai, Puttalam, at the southern end of the Kalpitiya Peninsula. The first 300-megawatt phase was completed and commissioned in March 2011. At present, the three phases of Norochcholai has added 900 megawatts to the national grid and no decision has been taken yet regarding the fourth phase; as it is expected to generate 80% of the total energy demand in the country by 2030.
There has been many instances in the past, where due to carelessness on the part of the authorities negative impacts occurred during the implementation of many development projects, particularly foreign-funded project that have gone unnoticed, or due to non-adherence to the environmental standards agreed at the time of commencement by the authorities in charge of the project. For some examples refer to following past posts in Northern Breeze:
On appreciating the carelessness that had occurred during the implementation of this foreign-funded Norochcholai Power project, the President has instructed that the authorities in charge of the project be summoned to provide guidance in this regard for them to operate the power plant strictly according to proper technical procedures and environmental standards to avoid or minimise its impact on the local environment and surrounding communities. In this connection, a team comprising the Power and Energy Minister, relevant engineers and others will be deployed to review activities at the Plant.