Youths on Fast-to-death campaign against Dam project

[TamilNet, Thursday, 11 August 2005, 11:02 GMT]
Six youths from the HillCountry Youth Front (HYF) has launched a fast unto death campaign at the Talawakelle bus stand in protest of the proposed Upper Kotmale hydro electricity project Thursday, sources from Talawakelle said.

Upcountry Youths fast
Fasting youths in Talawakelle
The protestors condemn that the project is environmentally hazardous to the region and several thousand upcountry plantation workers would be displaced by the project.

The leader of the Hill Country Youth Front, A.Suthkaran, said that the today's fast unto death by his movement is the beginning of a focussed concerted action against the project.

Upcountry Youths fast
Upcountry Peoples Front parliamenatarian P Chandrasekaran talking to the youths
Upcountry Youths fast
Talawakelle residents assembled near the site of the fast
Earlier several rallies and protest marches were held in several parts of the upcountry in protest against the project.

A section of the Talawakelle residents told TamilNet that there is also a sinister motive behind the Upper Kotmale project. "Talawakelle is the bedrock of upcountry Tamils activism. By dissecting the Tamil dominated region, the ruling Governments of Sri Lanka plan to bring Talawakelle under Sinhala dominance thereby preventing the rising activism and self-assertion of upcountry Tamils."

The Sri Lanka Government which plans to launch the project with the Japanese assistance believe that the hydro project would help Sri Lanka to deal with the impending energy crisis.

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 Power and Energy in December 1994 and Central Environmental Authority was the concurrent agency. The project was approved in 1998.


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