Activists of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) stopped Mangalore-Mumbai Matsyagandha Express (train no. 12620) for 10 minutes at the Nandikoor Railway Station here on Wednesday.
They were protesting against “illegal transportation of coal by Konkan Railway to the coal-based thermal plant of Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL) at Yellur.” The protestors squatted on the railway tracks. Some even slept on the tracks. They raised slogans against Konkan Railway and UPCL.
Addressing the protestors, president of the Udupi district unit of KRRS Vijaykumar Hegde said that Konkan Railway was illegally transporting coal from the Mangalore port to the project site of UPCL at Yellur in Udupi district.
The environmental clearance given to UPCL had a specific condition that coal from harbour to the project site should be transported through closed conveyer system.
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had not given permission for transportation of coal through railway wagons to UPCL. “Konkan Railway is party to the illegal operation of coal transportation to UPCL,” he said.
This had resulted in devastation of crops, agricultural land, drinking water and affected the health of people. Despite several requests and even legal notice by a local non-governmental organisation, Konkan Railway had not stopped transportation of coal, he said.
The Station Master at the Nandikoor Railway Station, M. Mahabala Naik, had sought a week for conveying the sentiments and apprehension of the KRRS and the local people to the higher authorities of Konkan Railway. “After a week, we will hold another meeting and decide on the action to be taken. Konkan Railway must stop this illegal transportation of coal. This is our final warning to it,” Mr. Hegde said.
Earlier, Mr. Naik received a memorandum and told the protestors that he would bring the matter to the notice of higher authorities of Konkan Railway.
The railway station at Nandikoor was opened on November 18, 2010. A platform is being constructed here. No train stops here now as there is no platform. According to Mr. Naik, two goods trains carried coal to the UPCL project site daily.