School students in Jaffna protested on Tuesday against oil leakage by Chunnakam power station which locals say is contaminating water supplies.
Gathering outside the school entrance at 2.30pm local time, students held placards demanding that the contamination ends and an investigation be launched into the incident.
"Do not fill crude oil into the wells built by our ancestors, do not spoil drinking water, do not destroy our lives," read one placard.
“Investigate and find an immediate solution for the issue regarding drinking water," said another student.
Other placards read:
"Do not pass time with excuses, such as 'teams are being formed' and 'it will be investigated'."
"One the one hand, drinking water is being contaminated, on the other hand the drinking-water [manufacturing] business is becoming popular. People’s resources are being ruined solely for the profit of business owners."
According to the Uthayan newspaper, a team from the Northern Provincial Council visited the school to investigate its water supplies.
The Jaffna newspaper reported that the team "did not use any equipment or machinery, but instead threw stones into the well and touched the water in it."
The Northern Power Company (Pvt) Ltd, which owns the power station, rejected any allegations of water contamination.
"As Northern Power Company (Pvt) Ltd, we deny outright these baseless charges raised by parties with vested interests and not a single charge has been so far accepted by Courts. As all evidence presented to Court even points to another location as being the source of contamination the Company is not in any way liable for the said situation,” MTD Walkers PLC Director/ CEO Lal Perera was quoted as saying by Colombo Gazette on Monday.
“Unfortunately the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) and the Public Health Inspector (PHI) who are not specialists in this field of engineering are making this ludicrous allegation that oil is being discharged by us with absolutely no form of evidence to support their claim. They are basically making this claims based on hearsay but without any scientific methodology being employed to identify the root cause of the contamination and by whom,” he said.
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