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Judge orders Chunnakam power station to close over waste oil leak

A judge in Mallaakam court issued an interim order to close Chunnakam power station on Tuesday following increasing local outcry over the contamination of local water supplies by waste heavy fuel oil leaking from the site.

Suspend the power plant's functions with immediate effect and temporarily shut down the plant until further notice, the order by Justice S. Satheestharan said.

The court also ordered the authorities to undertake immediate steps to ensure the provision of drinking water to areas affected by the oil seepage, and to instigate a programme of public health awareness about the dangers.

He instructed authorities to form an independent commission into the contamination issue and to carry out scientific experiments via the commission with the help of qualified bodies, and produce a report to the court, the Uthayan reported.

There has been growing condemnation by locals in the Jaffna peninsula over water contamination by the power plant, with protests and a hunger strike by local doctors.

Earlier this week, school children in Jaffna protested outside the their school entrance, calling for an investigation to be launched. See more here.

On Saturday, the locals in Chunnakam protested outside the power station.

"Water poison is another way to kill people?" read placards carried by protesters. See more here.

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