Gram panchayat has issued NOC for Rs. 160-cr. project

Residents of several villages and some farmer organisations are up in arms against a move to set up a distillery at Coromandel Sugars in Makavalli village in K.R. Pet taluk.

The local gram panchayat has issued a no-objection certificate to set up a 45-kilolitre-per-day (KLPD) distillery at a cost of Rs. 160 crore on the premises of the sugar factory.

Several authorities, including the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, after a public hearing on December 9, 2011, is learned to have issued NOCs to set up the distillery and the company is awaiting mandatory permission from authorities concerned, including the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Residents of Makavalli, Karoti, Kariganahalli, Heggadahalli, Vaddarahalli, Kundanahalli, Lingapur, Krishnapur, Kuppahalli, Mallenahalli, and a few other villages staged a series of protests against the setting up of the distillery claiming that it would affect agriculture and animal husbandry activities in the vicinity of these villages.

Around 200 village residents on Sunday attempted to lay siege to Coromandel Sugars and staged a protest in front of the factory. The protesters described the decision to set up a distillery as being “anti-farmer” and urged the company authorities to give up the project.The proposed distillery will lead to groundwater pollution, cause diseases, and harm the ecological balance in the region, the protesters said.

Residents of several villages, who are against the local gram panchayat issuing the NOC, have submitted memorandums against the establishment of the distillery unit at Makavalli to the Prime Minister, Central Pollution Control Board, Chief Minister, Regional Officer of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Mandya Deputy Commissioner, and Mandya district officer of the KSPCB.

Admitting that Coromandel Sugars has received three notices from the KSPCB for a few violations, vice-president of the factory C. Pavan Kumar said they will install highly advanced equipment in the distillery unit.

“We have stopped discharging polluted water into the river since December 9, 2011,” he told The Hindu on Monday.

The factory has already obtained the NOCs for the proposed distillery unit and is awaiting permission from the Central government. Mr. Pavan said the factory would install Rs. 3.5-crore worth reactor and other equipment with new technology to reduce the level of pollution.

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