Poojary’s poll promise just to impress voters: Bhandary

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday criticised B. Janardhana Poojary, the Congress nominee for Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency, for proposing to revive the petroleum, chemical and petrochemical investment region (PCPIR) project if elected.

Addressing presspersons here, K. Monappa Bhandary, BJP leader and MLC, said experts (he did not mention who were they) estimated that if the PCPIR were to come up, it required up to 74,000 acres covering about 300 sq. km area for the setting up of the plants.

If the government was to acquire land to that extent in Mangalore region, many farmers would lose their agricultural land and many would have to lose their houses. Forest land would have to be parted for the project. The project would harm the environment.

Mr. Bhandary alleged that Mr. Poojary had raked up the subject to impress voters stating that it would create employment opportunities for many.

He said that examples of existing petroleum industries in Mangalore revealed that they employ more outsiders than local people. Mr. Bhandary feared that the same trend would continue by other industries under the project.

The MLC said that availability of water to those industries would be another issue.

As Mangalore was already facing water scarcity during summer, setting up of more industries under the project would only aggravate the scarcity, he said.

When pointed out that the former BJP MLA N. Yogish Bhat as Chairman of Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corporation had vouched for the project and had gone on record that Karnataka was one of the five States vying for the project, Mr. Bhandary claimed that it did not have the approval of the BJP.

Mr. Bhandary claimed that Mr. Bhat had argued in favour of the project in his individual capacity.

Later, the BJP government buried the proposal considering its impact on people, he claimed.

‘PCPIR only if people want it’

There is no question of pressing with the Petroleum Chemical Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) project if people of the region do not want it, said Congress candidate from Dakshina Kannada B. Janardhana Poojary.

Green activists, the BJP and the Democratic Youth Federation of India have opposed the proposal to revive PCPIR project. Mr. Poojary said on Thursday, “I assure I will not go for projects that people do not want. I will stand by my word,” he said. He said he would work for getting industries that do not cause any harm but generate employment of youths. He would fight for getting such industries.

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