Stop UPCL unit by March 3, says Pejawar seer

UPCL has violated all environmental norms and is posing threat to coastal belt.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Wednesday, after visiting Padabettu, Santhur and Yermal area, he said negotiations are possible only after the company stops functioning.

The UPCL has violated all environmental norms and is involved in creating environmental problems. The company activities are posing threat to the natural treasure of coastal belt. The Government should intervene and take measures to stop anti-environmental initiatives of the project. The fight will be absolutely non-political. “No one can mislead me in my fight against sufferings and injustices meted out to the people in this area by the thermal power plant,” he added.

“The company should be able to cease the functioning of power plant immediately. If it still continues generating power, on March 4, public will go against the project and protest before UPCL power grid. I will lead the protest and support them in all possible ways,” he added.  “The ash pond has contaminated the lives of all human settlements in the area of Santhur and Yermal. Residents suffer breathing problems besides they are made to drink contaminated water owing to ashes scattered all over the area. However, with prior intimation of seer’s visit to the spot, company officials have arranged to supply sea water through pipelines directly to the ash pond to make the ashes settle down at the bottom,” he said.

Discharge of effluent water by the company comprising salt and chemical contents through open drain has burnt the agricultural crops in several acres of farm land in Padabettu. It has also contaminated wells and the water is not in a condition to use for any domestic purposes. Padabettu is barely eight km from the main project area.

BJP Mahila Morcha member Sumithra Acharya said knee-deep water in the fields has made it impossible to conduct any sort of agricultural activities. “We used to cultivate Urad dal earlier, now it is not possible to get the yield owing to the release of effluent water into the fields,” she alleged.

Hema, another resident, said skin allergies are common to those who go to work in the fields. Working only for half an hour will cause septic boils on legs, she added.

Poovappa Poojary, yet another resident, said: “I have 200 banana plantations in my five acre land. But not even a single plant has been able to produce yield since last three years. I am the tenant for another 10 to 15 acre of land where I used to get the yield for 300 bags of paddy. At present I can’t even imagine growing one bag of paddy in my field.

Five wells in my land have been contaminated,” he rued. Country Boats Fishermen Association President Janardhan Thingalaya said “if Pejawar seer supports our agitation against the Company, we will enter the company and ransack all the set up there.”

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