by Dasun Edirisinghe
Residents of Vadamarachchi East are planning a protest at Maruthankerny in Jaffna against proposed water purification project which, the fear, will pollute groundwater in the area.
President of the Vadamarachchi East Undergraduates’ Union S. Sathees told The Island that the protest would be held on Feb. 26 at 9.00am. More than 1,000 villagers to be affected by the project were expected to participate in the protest, he said.
The proposed large scale project to desalinate sea water is being implemented by the Northern Provincial Council in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank to supply drinking water to Jaffna town.
Sathees said that undergraduates from Vadamaradchi currently studying at universities attached to their union would educate the village people on the adverse impact of the project.
“They have not conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project so far, but nearly three hectares in the Vadamaradchi East had already been cleared,” Sathees said.
The student activist said the government and ADB officials had told the villagers at a meeting that the well water could become brackish due to the project.
The fishing community in the areas as well as the coastal belt would also be badly affected by the project, Sathees said.
Sathees said that nearly 5,000 families in the area would be affected by the project.
“We discussed the issue with relevant authorities as well as the Tamil National Alliance, but they are determined to go ahead with the project,” he said.
Several other civil societies representing the area too would join their protest on Feb. 26, Sathees said, adding that they had already obtained the approval from the police to stage a peaceful demonstration.