Congress leaders and workers staged a demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Saturday to protest against the reported decision of the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) to supply a large quantity of water to an industrial unit.

According to the Congress members, the MCC had entered into a “secret agreement” with the Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. (UPCL), formerly called Nagarjuna Power Corporation Ltd., which is setting up a 1,015-MW coal-based thermal power plant at Yellur village in Udupi district.

They said that the MCC was planning to supply 24 lakh litres of water for the UPCL’s coal storing yard on the premises of the New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT).

It may be noted that during its council meeting here on July 31, the MCC had resolved to issue an assurance letter to the UPCL that it would be ready to supply 100 cubic metres of water an hour to the company’s coal storing yard by 2011. (100 cubic metre of water is roughly equal to 1 lakh litres).

Holding placards that criticised the corporation’s plans, the members shouted slogans against the MCC’s failure to ensure proper water supply in Mangalore. They also raised concerns about future water security.

The former MLA and president of Suratkal Block Congress Committee K. Vijaya Kumar Shetty alleged that the MCC was not concerned about the welfare of the people and wanted to favour the rich. He claimed that there already was a secret agreement between the corporation and UPCL.

He said that the lack of experience on the part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which wrested the corporation from the Congress after 22 years, was evident from the fact that it had changed Commissioners five to six times. He alleged that this was because BJP was being controlled from Kalladka village near here, in an indirect reference to RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat.

Mr. Shetty also criticised the failure of the State Government to utilise its share of funds in various projects such as the schemes under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

Vice president of the district unit of the Congress Ivan D’Souza, Secretary Sudhir T.K., women’s wing president Mamtha Gatti, block Congress presidents Suresh Ballal and Abdul Saleeem, Leader of the Opposition in the MCC M. Shashidhar Hegde and youth Congress president Arun Cohello were present.