Villagers worried over expansion plans of UPCL thermal project

Villagers worried over expansion plans of UPCL thermal project

The novel proposal by the coal based Udupi Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) thermal project to set up two plants with 800 mega watt power each, has left the villagers in distress as the project already has offered bountiful of sufferings.

The thermal project which was taken over by the Adani Group from the former Lanco Company has planned for the expansion during the time of the process, ensuring the transfer of the authority.

The proposal has been sent to the central government and the proposal appeals for the requirement and acquisition of 728 acres of land for the proposed project.

The proposed project would enable 2800 mega watt power capacity including the previous 1200 mega watt two plants built at a cost of Rs 11,500 crore. The first unit of UPCL commenced the power generation in the month of July, 2010, following which another unit with 600 mega watt power started functioning shortly amidst stiff opposition from the local residents.

Notified by KIADB
The UPCL claims that the land demanded for the expansion of the project is already notified by KIADB in 1995 for the industrial zone and the area covers the landmass adjacent to the present project.

Hence, the Company claims that there is no need for the additional permission for the denotification.

However, the KIADB, special land acquisition officer Dr M Dasegowda told Deccan Herald that the UPCL has requested for the price fixation for 180 acres of land already denotified for the company.

He said the department is in to the survey for the details on the denotified land in Yellur, Nandikur and Santoor areas. The clear picture would be available by fortnight. He said he is ignorant about the demand for additional land by the Company.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Dr R Vishal says that the Company has not given anything in writing, which is liable for consideration. KIADB has to take a call on it. The issue is discussed at the level of government and some have approached him orally.
The Yellur Gram Panchayath Vice-president Jayant Bhat said, no question of expansion arises when the people in the surrounding area are suffering due to the ill effects.

Ruined lives
The project has ruined the lives of the people in the area. He asserted that no permission would be approved. However, the previous administration has extended the validity of the permission for another year owing to Rs 13.40 lakh tax paid by the UPCL.
He said although the Company claims that the land denotified in 1998 in Yellur is still applicable, the validity is already over, he said. 

While District-in-Charge Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake said the proposal would be opposed until the survey over the bearing capacity of the area is taken up.

UPCL Executive Director Kishore Alva said the issue involves various policies pursued by the government and Adani group has taken over the charge only two months ago. The proposal has a long way to go as the new ownership is still contemplating over improving the present set up into the world class infrastructure. However, the government has already extended the invitation for the expansion of the project in 2010, he added.

Environmentalist Dr N A Madhyastha said the expansion of the thermal project would surely end up in disaster for the environment of the Western Ghats.

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