Supreme Court orders compensation to residents affected by Chunnakam power plant

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Chunnakam Northern Power Plant

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court ordered the Northern Power Company Ltd. to pay compensation worth Rs. 20 million for 500 residents who were affected by the pollution of groundwater due to the thermal power plant in Chunnakam, Jaffna in the North.

The Supreme Court has declared that the environmental damage caused by the Chunnakam Power plat has violated the fundamental rights of the residents of the area.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Priyantha Jayawardena, Prasanna Jayawardena, and L. T. B. Dehideniya ordered the Northern Power Company Ltd., which operates the power plant, to pay an amount of Rs. 20 million to the affected people in compensation. Orders were given to pay the compensation within three months.

The order was issued after considering a petition filed by Environmentalist Dr. Ravindra Kariyawasam on behalf of the Centre for Environmental and Nature Studies (CENS).

Dr. Kariyawasam in his petition claimed that the relevant state authorities had not taken measures to address the water pollution issue in Chunnakam which was caused due to the dumping of waste oil belonging to the Chunnakam Power Plant.

The allegation of pollution of groundwater through the alleged dumping of waste-oil by the Chunnakam Power Plant has been litigated for years since its opening in 2013. At present power generation at Chunnakam Power Plant run has been suspended due to litigation.

The Supreme Court noted that, only after complying with the accepted environmental conditions, the company will be allowed to operate the power plant again.