Udupi, May 12, 2016: Addressing media, Vishwesha Tirtha Swami of Pejawar Mutt Udupi on may 11, Wednesday said that he was totally opposed to the State government providing 1,050 acres of land for the expansion of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), an ONGC subsidiary.
The seer said that MRPL had requested the State government to provide 1,050 acres of fertile agricultural land in areas coming under Permude, Kuttethur, Delantabettu and Tenka Yekkar villages, free.
He said that the government had, in turn, asked the KIADB, Karnataka Industrial Development Board to acquire the land. The KIADB was thus planning to compulsorily acquire the land under the KIADB Act. The farmers of the region were totally against the land acquisition.
He said that the acquisition of 1,050 acres was just the beginning. The main objective was to acquire 3,000 acres of land as soon as possible. It was strange that MRPL had acquired only 251 acres of land for its third phase expansion in 2008. But now the MRPL was asking for 1,050 acres of land for its fourth phase expansion.
However, due to versatile opposition from the local farmers who had fought unitedly under the ’Krishibhoomi Samrakshana Samiti’ and also with the Pejawar seer’s support to the struggle, the State government gave up the move to acquire the land for the third phase in 2011, he added.
But it was the very same agricultural land, and even more farm land, that the KIADB was now planning to acquire despite the opposition from farmers and people living in the villages there.
The Permude Gram Panchayat had in its general body meeting on March 9, 2016, passed a resolution objecting to the land acquisition. The people of Permude and Kuttethur had, in a Gram Sabha at Mangalpete on May 5, 2016, unanimously opposed the land acquisition. “Already, there is a problem of pollution due to MRPL. Its expansion will only lead to more pollution,” the seer said.
The expanded phase of MRPL would require 6.06 crore litres of water per day. The MRPL had sought construction of reservoirs for this purpose at the State government’s cost. The State government had agreed to both these conditions.
“But how will the government provide water? The Netravati cannot provide this water. It is already running dry. Mangaluru city itself has a severe water problem,” the seer said. To add to that the rivers are to be diverted under the Yettinahole project which is strongly opposed by the people.
“Under no circumstances should the expansion of MRPL be permitted and certainly not at the cost of farmers and their fertile land,” the Pejawar seer said.