Udupi Sep 02 , 2016 : In a media release issued from Udupi, Shashidhar Shetty Yellur, president of the cell, said that the cell had already explained the problems being caused to the people and farmers of Yellur and surrounding villages to Minister for Forests, Environment and Ecology B. Ramanath Rai during his recent visit to the UPCL project site. Udupi District Congress Kisan Cell has urged the State government not to allow expansion of the 1,200 MW coal-based thermal power plant of UPCL, Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. at Yellur in Udupi district.
Minister Rai had also visited the fields of some farmers in the nearby Santhur village to check the ground situation. He had made it clear to the representatives of the cell that there was no proposal before his Ministry with regard to expansion of the thermal plant.
President Shetty, who is also the former president of Yellur Gram Panchayat, said that the farmers of Yellur and nearby villages were facing crop loss due to pollution from the plant for the last few years. The crops worst affected were arecanut, coconut, jasmine and also vegetables. But none of the elected representatives ever visited the farmers and made an attempt to understand their problems.
Though UPCL had said that it had taken steps to prevent pollution, the cell did not see it happening. Crops, and people, were suffering due to problems of fly ash and discharge of used water. People were also suffering from health problems. These matters had been brought to the notice of Mr. Rai also.
The thermal power plant had been established despite opposition from the local people. Some elected representatives who visited the thermal plant, later issued statements in favour of it. They should take some time off during such visits and also go to the fields of farmers in the surrounding area and witness the damage done to the fields and to the wells.
The cell had submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, urging him not to permit the expansion of the thermal plant. It had also submitted a memorandum to Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda and Minister of State for Fisheries, Youth Empowerment and Sports Pramod Madhwaraj in the matter, the release added.