Staff Correspondent

To take out public rally in the first week of July

Government urged to abandon plan to set up coal-based power project in UdupiBJP accused of double-speak over the projectMP says there is no opposition to a gas-based project

UDUPI: Nagarjuna Vidyut Sthavara Virodhi Samiti, an umbrella organisation comprising representatives of environmental organisations, political parties, fishermen's organisations and voluntary organisations, will hold a public rally in Udupi in the first week of July to oppose the setting up of the Nagarjuna thermal power plant at Yellur in Udupi district.

Addressing presspersons here on Saturday, convener of the samiti Somanatha Nayak said the samiti had urged the State Government to abandon the plan to set up a coal-based power project in the eco-sensitive district of Udupi, but to no avail. The fate of five lakh fishermen and farmers in the district would be sealed if the project came up. Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy was told about the public opposition to the power project. But the State Government had not taken steps to halt the project, which had forced them to hold the rally, he added.

Mr. Nayak said that when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was in the Opposition, it was against the thermal power project. But now, Medical Education and district in-charge Minister V.S. Acharya was giving statements in favour of the project.

Mr. Nayak said the samiti was not opposed to the setting up of a gas-based power project.

Offers to resign

Manorama Madhwaraj, MP, who was present at the press meet, said she was opposed to the project as the people of Udupi district were against any coal-based power project. Her stand against the project has been consistent. "I will resign from my post as MP but will never support any project which the people oppose," she said.

She said it was strange that the State Government never invited her for any of the meeting it convened to discuss the project, which was conceived when H.D. Deve Gowda was the Prime Minister.

Nagarjuna Company had not held the mandatory public hearing. If the Government was bent upon setting up a power plant, it could go in for a gas-based power project.