Minister Arumugam Thondaman ordered Ginigathhena Divisional Secretary today to halt the construction of the Broadland Hydro Power Project in Kithulgala.
The construction of the 35-Mega Watt Hydro Power Project was inaugurated last year at a cost of 82 million US dollars.
Two branches of the Kelani river, the Maskeliya Oya and the Kehelgamu Oya are blocked to build a reservoir at Kitulgala for this project.
However Broadland Hydro Power Project Director Dr. Kamal Laksiri said that a minister cannot halt the construction of the project as it has been approved by the Cabinet.
The project which was started on Chinese credit is expected to complete by 2017. Several environmental groups also protested against the project as it is set up near a highly environmentally sensitive area.
However Minister Thondaman told during the Coordinating committee meeting today that many of the residents who were evacuated to allow the project have not been compensated as yet.
The minister also charged that the director in charge of the project did not participate in the meeting to discuss this matter though he was informed several times.
Consequently Minister Thondaman in his capacity as Amba-gamuwa Divisional Co-coordinating Committee chairman gave directions to the Divisional Secretary during the committee meeting today to stop the construction until the Coordinating Committee is educated on the matter.
However Broadland Project Director Dr. Kamal Laksiri said a huge compensation would have to be paid to the Chinese constructor if the project is halted on the way.