Colombo-Matara highway and land dispossession, Sri Lanka

Weak public consultation process and inadequate resettlement; ADB faces stiff opposition to a highway construction from multiple communities affected at various stages of project development


Description
The Southern Highway (Southern Expressway) is a 126 km long highway running from Colombo to Matara and is the major part of the 130.9 km Southern Transport Development Project.
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Basic Data
NameColombo-Matara highway and land dispossession, Sri Lanka
CountrySri Lanka
ProvinceWestern Province and Southern Province
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesLand
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)unknown
Level of Investment (in USD)700,000,000,000.00
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationabout 5600 households [2] p. 18
Start Date1992
Company Names or State EnterprisesKumagai Gumi ltd from Japan - constructor
Finnroad pvt - project management and consultant
Resources Development Consultants Ltd from Sri Lanka - consultant
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Sri Lanka (Infrastructures development in the country and overall national development)

Ministry of Highways of Sri Lanka (executing agency of the project)

Road Development Authority (implementing agency)

Ministry of Lands

Survey and valuation department

Central Environmental Authority (Approval & monitoring, adherence to environmental standards)
International and Financial InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB) from Philippines
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCentre for Environmental Justice (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

Joint Organizations of Affected People of Colombo-Matara Highway

Unified Society for the Protection of Akmeemana (USPA)

Gama Surakeema Sanvidhaniya (GSS)

Sri Lanka Working Group

Green Movement of Sri Lanka

Environmental Fundation ltd (EFL)

Public Interest Law Fundation
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Fishermen
International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Trade unions
Women
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
Compensation
Negotiated alternative solution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Strengthening of participation
Migration/displacement
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The highway trace was changed thanks to EJO's protests but then other communities have been affected
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Land Acquisition Act (LAA)

References

[2] H. Withanage. Southern Transport Development Project Sri Lanka. Case 1 in 'A Monitoring Framework for ADB’s Environment Policy based on Four Case Studies'. Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement with NGO Forum on the ADB. 2003
[click to view]

[3] S. Kuruppu, V. Genepola. Whose right of way? Development induced displacement. Centre for poverty analysis. Colombo, 2005

Links

[1] Article published on Roadraffic-Technology.com: Southern Highway Project, Sri Lanka
[click to view]

[4] Article published on focusweb.org (web site of focus on the global South): HONOLULU FACE-OFF: CIVIL SOCIETY 1, ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK 0 by W. Bello and S. Guttal. 2001
[click to view]

Other Documents

S. Kuruppu, V. Genepola. Whose right of way? Development induced displacement. Centre for poverty analysis. Colombo, 2005
[click to view]

Request for Compliance Review: Southern Transport Development Project Request for Compliance to the Compliance Review Panel (CRP). The CRP is a fact-finding body on behalf of the ADB's Board of Directors. The CRP investigates alleged noncompliance by ADB with its operational policies and procedures in designing and implementing ADB-financed projects
[click to view]

Southern Highway
[click to view]

Southern Highway construction A view of the working construction between Dodangoda in the Kalutara district and Kurudugahahethekma in the Galle district
[click to view]

A protest in Colombo against the Southern Expressway On 14 March 2002, villagers from all along the planned route of the Southern Expressway Matara came to Colombo to protest against the building of the road.
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorCentre for Environmental Justice (Colombo, Sri Lanka) and Paola Camisani (EJOLT team, Barcelona)
Last update21/07/2015
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