Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday asked the Power and Energy Ministry here to expedite work on the Sampur power plant coming up in Trincomalee with Indian assistance.

The announcement came as a tweet from the President a day after his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had asked for an early completion of the project. In the seven months following its agreement with Colombo, New Delhi repeatedly voiced concern on the lack of progress in the project.

The 500-MW plant is the NTPC first international joint venture with the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).

While the plant promises to meet a power shortfall, residents around Sampur are worried about displacement.

In December 2013, The Hindu reported that 800 families were affected after their land had been reportedly taken over by the government. CEB authorities had then told The Hindu that only 500 acres were earmarked for the plant itself, and that the seven families that lost land were being compensated. But, there has been no progress since, say residents.

“Before the foundation stone is laid, we request India to look into our displacement,” said K. Nageswaran, TNA member and chairman of the Displaced Sampur Residents’ Welfare Organisation.