Udupi, 14 July 2011: There is a proverb saying “the castle door is closed after the kingdom is robbed” which became true to certain extent as far as the Jilla Panchayath assembly is concerned! Even though the people were fighting since 4 – 5 years against the UPCL (Udupi Power Corporation Limited) which is constructed in Yellur Grama of Udupi Taluk, there was no discussion about it even on a single occasion in the Jilla Panchayath assembly. On the contrary the members were indirectly supporting the project saying that there will not be any problems from it. But after the UPCL is constructed and started its operation, they have started to fight against it!
The sea water for the cooling of the Boilers of the Plant is brought in through the pipeline from the sea. But the pipes have broken and the salt water has leaked into the surrounding villages Mudarangadi, Ulluru, Nandikuru and the well water is contaminated in those areas. People have to bring the good water from 1 – 2 kilometers. Also from the ash of the coal based power plant, people are having difficulties. The mine department has given permission to blast the rocks near the ash pond.
This is residential area, blasting the rocks there can be dangerous to the lives of people living there, Yelluru Jilla Panchayath Member Arun Kumar Shetty briefed these problems in the meeting. Also, the Grama Panchayath members and officers could not face the local people, so the village meetings have been cancelled in Yelluru, Mudarangadi and there are no meetings conducted there from 6 months, he revealed.
Answering to this the Environment department officer said that the R.R.P. pipes which were leaking have been already replaced with A.M.S. pipes and the ash from the plant is being taken away by ACC Company for manufacturing the cement. Also their company will be established here, so there will not be any more problems, he said.
Hearing this answer the Padubidri Jilla Panchayath member became angry and she said that the Environment department officer is lying. A.M.S. pipes are not installed at all, the Grama Panchayath President has confirmed on this. In Adamaru Grama even today the wells of more than 10 – 20 houses are still with the salt water contamination, they do not have good water to drink or bath and they have to bring the good water from more than a kilometer distance, she said.
But the Environment officer did not revert back from his statement and also the members did not give up their arguments. At that time Vidhana Parishad Member Prathap Chandra Shetty intervened and asked whether the officer is lying? Or the members are lying? He put the question before the assembly; the same question was also bothering the journalists.
He said that, the Environment officer talks like a spokesperson for the UPCL – ACC. Is it possible to manufacture cement from the ash? When they will establish the factory there? Until then what these people who are having serious difficulties should do? He questioned harshly. At that time Jilla Panchayath President Katapadi Shankara Poojary said that the leakage of pipes, finding a solution for ash are not the impossible tasks, so please make it good, he requested the officer.
Finally it was decided that, the Environment department officer, Mine department officers and the Panchayath members of Yellur and Padubidri shall have a joint inspection of the pipeline. Later other issues such as; the damage to the roads of Battekudru Grama within 10 days of construction, about the removed roof of anganavadi of Kerwashe for repair, the disorder state of the Bhagyalaxmi yojane were discussed in the meeting.
On the dias along with the Jilla Panchayath President, Vice President Jyothi Shetty, Sthayee Samithi President Upendra Nayak, Babu Shetty, Savitha Shivananda, CEO Rajashekar, Project Officer Pranesh Rao, MP D.V. Sadananda Gowda and in the assembly along with the members Vidhana Parishad member Prathapchandra Shetty and Kota Shrinivasa Poojary were present.