'Will oppose UPCL project in Assembly, Cabinet meetings'

Sorake says company has shirked corporate social responsibility

Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake has said he would take the lead in opposing the proposal of the Udupi Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) thermal project for the extension, if the issue was raised in the Assembly and State Cabinet meetings.

Addressing mediapersons here on Tuesday, Sorake said that the Adani group, which currently owns the project, has violated all norms and has also shed its corporate social responsibility (CSR). He alleged that the company had crossed all limits regarding environmental matters and created havoc in the lives of the people in the region.

“There are a lot of environment-related issues bothering the people here, besides health problems. The company has withdrawn its CSR, and also failed to fulfil any of the assurances that it had pledged to the people of the area,” the minister said, and added, “Although the concern for power is justifiable, the achievement should not be at the cost of the people’s lives. An ecologically sensitive area should be protected against all causes for environmental vulnerability.”

Sorake also insisted that if the UPCL had to go ahead with the second phase of the project, it should abide by the rules and fulfil all the demands put forth earlier.

“Extensions of the project would be secondary. The company has failed to offer employment to the people who have lost their land for the sake of the project. Besides, the UPCL has also failed to offer compensation to the fishermen who are in trouble owing to a fall in the production of fish, as the effluents from the project factory are discharged into the sea,” said the minister.

Paschima Vahini

“The proposal for implementation of the Paschima Vahini project has been put across before the government. As many as 13 rivers will be joined and a series of vented dams would be built, under the project, which will ease the drinking water problems of the erstwhile Dakshina Kannada district,” he explained.

Sorake also said that an expert panel will be set up for the report, which would enable the future course of action concerning the prospect of the Brahmavar sugar factory. The committee will be set up at the earliest and the decision on the revival of the factory will be taken up following the report of the expert committee, he added.

The minister criticised the BJP, saying it had been politicising the suicides of farmers and trying to benefit itself by making use of the issue.

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