Clampdown on protesters condemned
Government to clarify stand after consulting bureaucrats Bandh called in Kaup Assembly constituency
UDUPI: The Malpe Fishermen's Association (MFA) and environmentalists staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner's Office here on Saturday urging the State Government to stop the work on the setting up of the 1,015-MW coal-based thermal power project at Yellur in Udupi district.
Speaking on the occasion, Manorama Madhwaraj, MP, said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should withdraw support to the Karnataka Democratic Front (KDF) Government as that was the only way to prevent the plant from coming up.
Lalaji Mendan, MLA, condemned the imposition of Section 144 by the district administration on the protesters against the project at Tenka Yermal on Friday.
Raghupati Bhat MLA said that if the people did not want the coal-based project, the Government should not impose it on them. President of the Dakshina Kannada Mogaveera Mahajana Sangha (DKMMS) Pramod Madhwaraj submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj stating that fishermen were opposed to the project on environmental grounds.
Later, at a meeting held at the Deputy Commissioner's office, there were heated exchanges between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress leaders. Ms. Madhwaraj said that the previous Dharam Singh Government had at least postponed the work on the plant. But the present KDF Government was bent on setting up the plant at Yellur.
She criticised former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy for backing the plant despite the public opposition to it in Udupi district.
After the meeting, Mr. Madhwaraj conveyed to the fishermen that the Deputy Commissioner had promised to make the Government's stand on the project clear after talking to bureaucrats in Bangalore.
He said that should the Government persist with the survey work, the fishermen and environmentalists would decide on their next course of action at their meeting in Uchila on Sunday.
Meanwhile, fishing activities were closed at the Malpe Fisheries Harbour and a bandh was observed in the Kaup Assembly constituency following the imposition of Section 144 on the protesters on Friday.