UPCL all set for expansion

Landlosers agree for compensation of Rs 40 lakh per acre

Villagers from Yellur situated near the coal-based Udupi Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) thermal power project had a heated argument followed by discussions over the acquisition of land and the price being offered by the company at a meeting held at the DC’s office here on Wednesday.

The daylong discussion by the company officials with the evacuees focused on earmarking ex gratia for 139.02 acres of land, out of the notified 503.25 acres in 1995. The evacuees, who demanded Rs 53 lakh per acre, were adamant that they would not vacate their land and their dwellings unless the company heeded their demands.

After the marathon meeting, both parties arrived at a consensus. The Adani Group-owned UPCL has begun the land acquisition process to go ahead with the second phase of the project. Two units, with 600 mega watt capacity each, are already functioning.

The company plans the third and fourth units with a capacity of 800 mega watts each. However, the 139.02 acres of land notified in 1995 and land acquisition process remained incomplete. There are 34 houses in the notified land. The company now would utilise the land for expansion. It has procured the environment clearance and applied for acquisition of 328 acres in Santhoor and 33 acres in Padabettu, an official said.

Rehabilitation

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner R Vishal told Deccan Herald that UPCL and the landlosers had agreed to settle for Rs 40 lakh as compensation for an acre. Besides, the company has also agreed to rehabilitate the people in the area and provide jobs to one person from each of the 34 households, based on their educational qualification.

Those who lose their houses would be also offered an additional amount in the form of compensation. Money would be offered to construct houses. Besides, the other structures available in the land would also be compensated as per the market value. The land would be acquired as per the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board Act, he added.

UPCL has also agreed to pay the rent for houses up to one year for the displaced people, besides providing compensation to agricultural and horticultural growths as per the market value, the deputy commissioner added.

Rama Shettigar from Yellur said he had lost 2.5 acres of his land during the first phase of the project. He was then offered Rs 4.5 lakh per acre. Currently, he has received notice for his five acres of land. He said the notified land at present is a fertile agricultural land and comprises 100 coconut trees, besides areca nut trees.

Another landloser, Christine Quadrus from Kemdelu in Yellur, said she would not vacate the land which is her source of livelihood, if she is not adequately compensated.

“We are losing fertile agricultural land and the amount offered should adequately compensate the loss,” she said. She said she grew vegetables and paddy, besides areca nut and coconut on her 1.40-acre land. The compensation amount should be four times the market value,” Christine added.

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