Udupi, Feb 14, 2016: Addressing the media Vinay Kumar Sorake, Urban Development Minister, said that he was opposed to the expansion of the 1,200 MW thermal power plant of UPCL - Udupi Power Corporation Ltd at Yellur in Udupi district, and wanted it to be converted from a coal-based to a gas-based plant to prevent environmental damage. The thermal plant comes under the Kaup Assembly constituency represented by Minister Sorake.
The minister said that he was not opposed to power generation at the plant as power was an essential requirement. But he did not want power generation at the cost of the environment. He has been advocating for a long time that the coal-based plant should be converted into a gas-based plant. This would solve the environmental problems. Since the plant was now a coal-based one, the people in the surrounding villages were facing many problems. Nearly 100 wells in the vicinity of the plant were found to be contaminated.
There were also complaints of saline water from the plant sometimes entering the fields around and damaging the crops.
The fisherfolk along the coast, were yet to receive the compensation of Rs. 7 crore promised to them when the Yeddyurappa Government was in power. He had brought all these problems to the notice of the Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar, who had assured to address them, Sorake said.
When it was pointed out that Minister Shivakumar had said that it was not possible to convert the plant into a gas-based one, Sorake said that experts would have to look into the matter as it was a technical matter.
On the MoU signed for the expansion of the capacity of UPCL plant from 1,200 to 2,800 MW at the Invest Karnataka meet held in Bengaluru recently, Sorake said that he would bring the problems arising from the expansion to the notice of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
“Udupi is an eco-sensitive district. We do not want polluting industries here. Hence, we are promoting educational institutions in Belapu and small-scale industries in Nandikur,” he said.
On complaints of fewer candidates of minority communities being given tickets in the zilla and taluk panchayat elections, Minister Sorake said that the Congress party had given tickets to the candidates of Christian and Muslim communities in the district. All factors including chances of winning were considered while giving tickets, he said.
Diwaker Shetty, Deviprasad Shetty, Mahabala Kundar, Narasimhamurthy, Congress leaders, were present.