The Nandikur Janajagriti Samiti on Monday urged the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to shut the thermal power plant of Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL) as it was creating health and other problems in the surrounding villages.
In a letter to Member-Secretary of the KSPCB S.M. Puttabuddhi, copies of which were released to the press here, samiti Executive President Balakrishna Shetty and secretary Jayant Kumar said the thermal plant had resumed its operations on November 21 after a month-long closure for maintenance works. It had started operation without employing safeguards or mitigation steps to prevent pollution.
This only demonstrated the arrogance and insensitivity of the company not only towards the people but also showed its scant regard for the KSPCB's directives.
With the resumption of the operation, the power plant had been discharging brackish water to the streams and the Adve rivulet. The area was once again experiencing salty acidic rains that seriously affected the vegetation.
The samiti had been protesting the establishment of the plant and had even filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Karnataka High Court in 2005. The PIL had been pending with several other related writ petitions. Despite the pending cases challenging the site clearance and consent for establishment of the project, the KSPCB went ahead issuing the consent for operation causing severe damage to ecology, agriculture, and human health in the area.
“We would advise you to take action to shut and seal the power plant functioning in violation of Air and Water Acts. Failure to take appropriate action on the part of the board (KSPCB) would compel the samiti to take steps, including holding the board collectively and you individually responsible and initiate all legal measures available,” they said.