Udupi, Nov 02, 2016: Addressing media, UPCL Virodhi Horata Samiti, president, Vijay Kumar Hegde, said on Nov 1, Tuesday that the Samiti was opposed to the expansion of the coal-based thermal project of Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL), located at Yellur in Udupi district from the present 1,200 MW to 2,800 MW.
Samiti, President Hegde said that the existing 1,200 MW thermal project had caused the destruction of agricultural and horticultural crops and the contamination of wells in the area. Despite several requests by the Samiti, the authorities were not ready to hold a public hearing in any village near the power project as they feared facing the wrath of the villagers. The public hearing would be held at Paniyur village on November 10. He said that when the existing problems had not been solved by the authorities, it was surprising they were going ahead with the plans of expansion.
When a Samiti delegation met the Udupi DC three days ago to voice their objections and draw attention to their problems, the latter responded by asking them whether they wanted electricity. Hegde said that while no one was opposed to development, the problems of the people had to be addressed. Already, the Nandikur Janajagriti Samiti was fighting cases against the UPCL in the Supreme Court. The public hearings before the establishment of the 1,200 MW plant too had not been held in a transparent manner, he held.
Fly ash : A farmer from Tenka Yermal village, said that he had grown arecanut and coconut on 1.5 acres of land but most of his crop was destroyed by fly ash. The release of used water from the plant had contaminated the well in his field too, he said.
Shashidhar Shetty, the former president of Yellur Gram Panchayat and president of District Congress Kisan Cell, said that water in the wells of 10 houses in Santhur village was contaminated owing to fly ash from the thermal plant.
The people of these 10 houses had to walk three kms to get cans of water supplied by the UPCL. It was not possible for senior citizens to walk the distance to get water. The yield of all agricultural and horticultural crops had halved in the area because of fly ash. The yield of jasmine flowers had been drastically hit. Its impact can be felt in 12 surrounding villages.
These issues had been brought to the notice of the district unit of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) at the gram sabha held nearly six months ago, Shetty said.
We follow all guidelines, UPCL : The UPCL, Udupi Power Corporation Ltd, in a rejoinder said the 1,200 MW coal-based thermal plant was adhering to all environmental parameters. K. Kishore Alva, Joint President (Project Development and Corporate Affairs), Adani-UPCL, told media, over 20,000 people from nearby villages had visited the plant to observe its functioning. There had been no complaints from any residents of surrounding villages about fly ash or any other matter related to the UPCL. “We are adhering to all environmental parameters after the Adani Group took over thermal plant,” he said.