Udupi, Sep 27, 2015 : Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake speaking after inaugurating a fisheries information camp and distributing cheques to beneficiaries under the Matsyashraya scheme at a function organised by the Department of Fisheries on Sept 26.
He stated that the thermal power plants of the UPCL - Udupi Power Corporation Limited at Yellur in Udupi district were not only polluting the environment, but also affecting traditional occupations such as agriculture and fisheries.
Minister Sorake said that UPCL was only bothered about profits and did not generate good employment for locals. UPCL had constructed a break-water channel to discharge the used water from its two 600-MW coal-based thermal plants, which had led to massive sea erosion in Tenka Yermal village in the last two years. It was only after the water channel was dismantled by the authorities that the sea erosion stopped this year.
Farmers in the villages surrounding the thermal plant complained about the discharge of effluents into their farmland, damaging their crops. The UPCL should not only take steps to stop the discharge of effluents into farmland, but also pay compensation to farmers whose land was affected.
The BJP government, headed by the then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, had reached an agreement with the UPCL to pay compensation to fishermen whose livelihood was affected due to the plant. But the UPCL had not paid compensation properly he said. The discharge of used water from the thermal plant into the sea had reduced fish catch.
As per laws, UPCL should spend a portion of its earnings annually as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). But the expenditure of the UPCL under its CSR was meager he alleged. Though electricity is needed, it is not desired at the cost of traditional occupations like agriculture and fishing. Slavery to industrialization is the last thing people here want.
Minister Sorake said that he was disappointed at the delay in providing some facilities to the fishermen by the Department of Fisheries. Soon review meetings on the problems faced by fishermen in Malpe will be held.