All those residents of Sampur, journalists, organizations and political parties that supported the struggle against Sampur coal power station should be honoured and admired says the Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP K.D. Lal Kantha.
He said this speaking at a press conference organized by the ‘Eastern People’s Voice’ and held in Trincomalee today (16th) to respond to the government’s statement to Court that Sampur coal power station would not be constructed. The convener of ‘Eastern People’s Voice’ Arun Hemachandra, members Marimuththu Ganeshan and Thyagarasa Dineshkan also participated.
Speaking further Mr. Lal Kantha said, “The government ahs stated in Court that Sampur coal power station would not be built. We are really happy about it. For, on one hand people in Sampur and the media carried on a continuous struggle against building eh power station. The media, considering it as their responsible task joined people at Sampur to carry out a massive ideological campaign against the power station. The ‘Eastern People’s Voice’ too carried out a massive struggle complaining to the Human Rights Commission, poster campaigns and agitations. Certain political parties joined the struggle at different levels.
However, the victory is the result of the continuous struggle carried out jointly by the people living at Sampur and the media to prevent the harm the move would have on the country and the people. We honour and admire all those residents of Sampur, journalists, organizations and political parties that supported the struggle against Sampur coal power station.
We also thank and admire the organization that took the issue to the Supreme Court and carried out the necessary mediation to get the directive.
However, 505 acres of people’s lands in Sampur have been acquired for the power station project. Earlier there was a plan to have an industrial estate here. The government has not made any statement regarding the 505 acres acquired from the people. Some of these lands were used by the people in the area as pasture lands for their livestock. There are 12 tanks within this area of 505 acres. They are in a state of disrepair and deterioration. People in Sampur used the water in the tanks for their cultivations. The government has not told its stand about these tanks and the lands. Also, there is information that an attempt was made to erect a power station with India in this area.
Hence, the government has a responsibility to raise the standard of people’s lives in the area without stopping at a mere statement that the power station would not be built. The government should explain how it is going to raise the standard of lives of the people who suffered due to the attempt to build the power station. The government, the District Secretary, Divisional Secretaries, Grama Sevakas have a responsibility of making the people aware of the programme that would be implemented for the people who lost their lands. For, we still do not see any road map for the situation.
Even the likes of Mr. Sambanthan did not protest the building of a power station here. They wanted lands from another area for the people. They didn’t take into account the environmental issues. They never thought about the affects of Northeast Monsoon. Now they are claiming they too struggled against the power station.
They did not do anything. It was the people in Sampur who carried on a continuous struggle. What is needed now is land for the people, restoration of tanks, facilities for animal farming and a programme to raise the standard of living of the people in the area. A structure that includes relevant officials, Department of Lands, Divisional Secretaries, District Secretary, District Parliamentarians and people’s representatives should be established to take decisions and implement them.