Environment Minister says it will spell out anti-pollution steps

Forests and Environment Minister B. Ramanath Rai said on Monday that a high-level team of officials from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board would visit the thermal power project of Udupi Corporation Ltd (UPCL) at Yellur in Udupi district and its neighbouring villages and study the alleged environmental problems caused by it.

Ever since the coal-based power plant began its operation about four years ago, local farmers have been complaining of health problems.

They have also alleged that saline water used for the boilers of the thermal plant was getting evaporated causing damage to their crops and cattle.

Speaking to presspersons here, Mr. Rai said it was the duty of the KSPCB to take steps to prevent pollution from industries.

After taking charge as minister, he had issued directions that a high-level team from the KSPCB should visit those areas from where there were complaints of environmental pollution from the industries. This team would direct the industries on the steps they should take to check pollution, he said.

On whether he would personally visit Yellur and its surrounding areas, Mr. Rai said: “If I visit the spot, people may attach some or the other meaning to it. I will send a team of senior officials to the place soon.”

To another question, Mr. Rai said the issue of the Union government implementing Project Tiger in Kudremukh National Park area had not come to his notice. He would study the issue and then react to it, he said.

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