Farmers' bid to besiege KSPCB offices foiled

Farmers' bid to besiege KSPCB offices foiled

Protesting against the alleged approval accorded to a firm in Mandya to start a thermal power plant and a distillery, farmers attempted to lay siege to the offices of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) here on Friday but retreated to Town Hall after being stopped by the police.

Organisations like Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Karnataka Janashakti accused the KSPCB of according approval to Coromandel Sugars Limited, Mandya to start a thermal power plant and a distillery at Mokavalli village of Krishnarajapet taluk.

KRRS President M V Raje Gowda alleged that the company was not only polluting the Hemavathi river, but also adversely affecting the lives of 25,000 people. He said the firm was planning to use coal for its cogeneration plant.

“If coal is used for power generation, poisonous gases like carbon monoxide, nitroxide and dioxides of sulphur and nitrogen let out by the factory would be released into the atmosphere,” he said.

Gowda also alleged that the KSPCB had accorded approval to the company for opening a distillery in the region. The Divisional PCB in Mysore had advised the KSPCB against granting such permission, as it violated the Board’s Air and Water Act, but the latter went ahead and gave consent, he maintained.

Karnataka Janashakti State Convener Dr Vasu said that the protest would go on unless the KSPCB  chairperson gave them written assurance about withdrawal of KSPCB’s permission for Coromandel Sugars Limited.

KSPCB Chairperson Vaman Acharya reacted to the protest thus, “Neither have we given permission for the construction of any distillery anywhere near the factory nor have the factory authorities approached us with any such requests. The case is before the National Green Tribunal and we will abide by its order.”

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