Staff Correspondent

There is widespread opposition to the coal-based power project

UDUPI: Manorama Madhwaraj, MP has strongly condemned the alleged attempts being made by the Nagarjuna Power Corporation Ltd. (NPCL) to create a wrong impression in the minds of people about her with regard to the proposed 1,015-MW Nagarjuna Power Project." She has taken exception to the statement of Praveer Sinha, chief operating officer, NPCL, that she had approved the proposed Nagarjuna Power Project when she was Industries Minister in the Veerappa Moily Government.

In a press release issued here on Sunday, Ms. Madhwaraj said the State Government in 1994 had given permission to a private company, called Jaiprakash Engineering and Steel Company Ltd (JESCO) to start a steel plant at Thokur near Mangalore. This also included permission to start a 360-MW power plant that was to be used only by the proposed steel plant. JESCO had informed the Government that it would start this power plant in collaboration with National Power Company of England. Later the steel company changed hands from JESCO to NPCL.

Since NPCL failed to get the requisite clearances from the Union Government it could not start the steel plant. Meanwhile, the National Power Company of England withdrew itself from the power plant. Ultimately, the project fell through.

According to her, setting up of the power project would affect fisheries and agricultural operations apart from negative effects on the environment.

It is for this reason she remained steadfast in her opposition to the setting up of the power project in Udupi district.

"Already there is widespread opposition to the coal-based power project. I am with the people in their struggle against the project," Ms. Madhwaraj said.