Chinese workers at Coal Power Project threatened

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Chinese workers at Coal Power Project threatened

By Leon Berenger

The Ministry of Power and Energy said authorities had deployed a police guard for Chinese workers involved in the Norochcholai Coal Power Project following repeated stand-offs with local officials
They said the police guard was confined to the living quarters and storage dumps in several places from Puttalam to Natandiya and Marawila.

File photo Norochcholai power plant

The decision to send the police in followed a request by the Chinese who feared for their personal wellbeing as well as for their work. According to officials some locals had attempted to break into a store and remove valuable equipment intended for the project.

There have also been cases of local villagers feeling slighted they were not given employment at the project having intimidated the Chinese workers. “The project is being carried out under an agreement between two countries and according to a strict time table.

We cannot allow incidents which would harm this agenda. If this is allowed to happen, it is the country that will ultimate suffer”, one senior official said.

Senior DIG Nimal Mediwaka said the Chinese, or anyone for that matter was within the legitimate framework to request police protection depending on the nature of the threat to their personal well- being or their work. “There is nothing wrong with this”, he added.

Meanwhile threats aside, youth in the area are making a quick buck by supplying reptiles such as Rat Snakes and Cobras which is a delicacy to the Chinese. A Rat Snake fetches Rs. 1,000 and a Cobra Rs. 2,000. The Sunday Times learned the reptiles, venomous or otherwise had to be live at the time of delivery.

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