UPCL row: Pejawar seer withdraws fast

UPCL row: Pejawar seer withdraws fast

Pejawar mutt seer Sri Vishweshatheertha Swamiji has withdrawn his three-day fasting following the assurances by the government to solve all the environmental issues concerned with the Udupi Power Company Limited (UPCL) thermal power project power plant, within six months.

Higher Education Minister Dr V S Acharya and Pejawar mutt seer Sri Vishweshatheertha Swamiji holding a closed door meeting at Sri Durgaparameshwari temple at Nandikur in Udupi district on Tuesday. DH Photo

The seer had taken up the fast as the government had dropped two experts recommended by him to the expert committee panel which would go into the grievances of the affected people due to environment pollution caused by coal based UPCL thermal power project.

Speaking to media persons, the seer informed that he has agreed to the proposal for the formation of task force set up by the government to monitor the power plant and give its report once in a week to the government as well as to him.

He said that he is against the proposal put forward by Higher Education Minister Dr V S Acharya to suggest four alternative names for the final selection of two names to replace the dropped ones in the committee.

“I am not interested in suggesting any alternative names other than the names of the two dropped ones. I will ask the two experts who have been dropped to prepare a fresh ‘civil report’ on the environmental issues of UPCL,” he said. The seer informed that, Chief Minster D V Sadananda Gowda through Acharya has assured him to convene a meeting in connection with UPCL issue immediately after the completion of Paryaya celebrations at Bangalore.

Decision after 6 months

“I will take the decision over  ‘Satyagraha’ only after six month as the government has assured me to solve all environmental problems within the next six month period,” the seer said and added, “however I will lend my support to the ‘Satyagraha’ or any other sort of agitation taken by the affected people in the area. I took the decision of withdrawing my fasting only after consulting the sufferers and all other people who were gathered in the premises of Durgaparameshwari temple,” he added.

Urging the government that it should not go ahead with second unit of UPCL power plant unless and until the existing environmental problems in the area are solved, the seer said no permission should be given to UPCL for commissioning any new units unless the grievances of the public in the area is solved.

Alternatives should be found for using the sea water by the plant which has caused damage to the crop, well water and utensils including vehicles causing corrosion. Even though power is an essential commodity, the government is borne with the responsibilities of assuring a safe livelihood to its public, he added.

On Paryaya row

Reacting to the Paryaya controversy, Pejawar seer said he is not against Puttige mutt seer Sri Sugenendratheertha Swamiji attending the Paryaya Darbar and other rituals, however he is not in a position to bring pressure on incoming Paryaya seer of Sode Vadiraja mutt Sri Vishwavallabhatheertha Swamiji to invite Puttige seer.

The Sode seer might have his own reservations concerning the opinions of other seers of Asta mutt, he added.