‘It will create 15 lakh direct jobs; development without industry not possible’

Revealing a major promise of the manifesto, Congress nominee for Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency B. Janardhana Poojary said if elected, he will make a case for reintroducing the scrapped PCPIR (Mangalore Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region) in the district.

Addressing reporters on Tuesday, Mr. Poojary said the project — spanning 249 km across nine districts with Mangalore at the centre — will guarantee direct employment to nearly 15 lakh people here. “As per the preliminary project reports, PCPIR will not affect the people or environment of the district. Numerous foreign companies will directly invest in the zone, and the salaries drawn by employees will very high. This will benefit the economy of the region…we can’t have a development plan that has no industry in it,” he said.

Karnataka has been eyeing the project since 2007, but dropped the idea in 2010 after mass protests and oppositions here. But Mr. Poojary said: “The BJP government had not represented it properly nor given the real facts to the people. I will explain the project to the people.”

He believed with the new land acquisition rules and stronger terms for rehabilitation, the project could come up only with the consent of landowners. “Even then if the people object, the project will be dropped,” he said.

‘Poojary vs. Modi’

Hitting at his rival and BJP candidate Nalin Kumar Kateel for being “absent”, Mr. Poojary said the BJP was seeking votes in the name of its prime ministerial candidate M. Narendra Modi and not Mr. Kateel. “It is Modi versus Poojary here,” he said.

Responding to a complaint registered with the Election Commissioner against Mr. Poojary for referring to Mr. Nalin as Nalin Kumar Shetty in his speeches, the Congress candidate said there was nothing wrong in owning up one’s caste. “I’m proud of my caste. When they claim votes in the name of religion, why can’t he say he is a Bunt. I am not trying to divide votes unlike the BJP. I am only asking why he is ashamed of his caste,” he said.

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