Paying the bigger price with Norochcholai: blanket of coal particles and ailing residents

Paying the bigger price with Norochcholai: blanket of coal particles and ailing residents

Paying the bigger price with Norochcholai: blanket of coal particles and ailing residents

Written by Lahiru Fernando

26 Jul, 2016 | 10:01 pm

The prevalent strong winds in the country has caused several environmental issues in the vicinity of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant. The primary issue is the dispersion of coal particles from stock piles of coal.

According to the subject minister’s recent clarification in parliament regarding the controversial coal tender in 2015, the size parameters which had been set for a block of coal had been a decisive factor. The minister explained that when bids were called for the first time, five quality standards had been set as precondition, and the lowest bid had been submitted by Noble Resources International Pte. Limited.

When the criterion pertaining to the size parameters of a block of coal was removed from among the aforementioned five quality standards, incidentally Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises Pte Ltd turned out to be the lowest bidder.

CONSIDERING THE FIVE QUALITY STANDARDS

Supplier                                                                        Price per MT (USD)

Noble Resources International Pte Limited                      89.86
Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises Pte Ltd            101.71

WHEN NOT CONSIDERING THE SIZE CRITERION

Supplier                                                                        Price per MT (USD)

Noble Resources International Pte Limited                        83.25
Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises Pte Ltd              82.87

The Minister pointed out that the study of 42 coal agreements in the world, revealed that no country has either increased nor decreased the price according to size parameters for a block of coal. He added that of the 78 shipments of coal which was brought into the country over the past years, only on two occassions had the price been amended based on size parameters.

Moreover, in his explanation to parliament the minister said that Sri Lanka did not have the required facilities to measure the size per block of coal while it was being unloaded.

As a result of the neglect shown towards the size criterion when importing coal to the country, a myriad of environmental issues have arisen due to small coal particles.

Following are what the residents and farmers living in the vicinity of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant say:

“The particles gets blown away here. This always gives the child a cough or a phlegm and we have to take him to the hospital. Every rupee we earn is spent on hospital charges.”

“Particles of stock-piled coal at the Norochcholai Power Plant gets blown away on to our fields and destroy them. We are constantly applying balms. No matter how much we address this issue to the authorities it goes unnoticed.”

“We are coming to a point where we may have to abandon our homes.”

Thus lament the residents and farmers living in the vicinity of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant

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