Journalist in Sri Lanka assaulted after exposing environmental damage of mini-hydro plant

ECONOMYNEXT – A journalists who had written about the environmental damage caused by a mini-hydropower plant in Neluwa, Galle in Sri Lanka, a media rights body said.

Sri Lanka’s Free Media Movement said Daya Neththasinghe, Features editor of Sathanda, a newspaper, had been assaulted while speaking at a meeting in a temple in Dellawa village in Neluwa.

Villages had come to his assistance and taken him to hospital.

The FMM said Neththasinghe had reported on protests and allegations of environmental destruction by the mini-hydro plant.

"Due to the heavy protest on the mini hydro power plant the issue had been raised and questioned at the recent progress review meeting in Matara which was presided by President Maithripala Sirisena," the FMM said.

"As a result the President has instructed the Central Environment Authority for a special report and it is believed that these incidents disturbed the supporters of the mini hydro power plant."

Depending on their location, mini-hydro plants usually results in the elimination of picturesque water falls, and they can also disrupt the water flow in small rivers, de-stabilizing eco-systems downriver and the migration of rare fish and other fauna.

Some mini-hydros in Sri Lanka are located in the country’s last remaining montane forest habitats.

Some of the plants are backed by powerful business groups which spend money on lobbying.

The FMM called for a free and fair probe into the incident. (Colombo/July14/2016)





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