Staff Correspondent

Harassment by UPCL contractors, police officials alleged

Santhur (Udupi District): Visvesha Tirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Math has assured the residents here that he will persuade the State leadership to direct officers and contractors working for Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. (UPCL) and the police to stop harassing the people.

Speaking to presspersons here on Tuesday, after listening to the complaints of the village residents, he said, “I will try to see that this dictatorship of officers and the police is stopped. I will talk to Home Minister V.S. Acharya and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ananth Kumar on this matter”. He said that some people had not been paid compensation even after their land had been acquired by the Government. Though some people had approached the courts, contractors were allegedly trying to coerce people to part with their land. Violence was not permissible, he said and promised the people that he would study the legal aspects of their cases.

He said there had been no proper response from the UPCL on the issues concerning the thermal plant. The company officials who had promised to provide all the documents regarding the permits received to start the plant in the meeting held in December, had not done it so far.

Tale of woe

Earlier, Bhagirati Prabhu, a teacher, narrated her tales of woe to the Visvesha Tirtha, alleging that she was being harassed by a contractor and his henchmen. She was being put through physical and verbal abuse, she said.

Though she had registered a complaint with the Padubidri police, the police had allegedly turned a blind eye to the problem. A large amount of soil had been deposited on her field by those working for the company, rendering it useless, she said.

Sandeep Kotian, a soldier, said that he had not taken any compensation and had taken the matter to court, but had still received a final notice directing him to surrender his land from the authorities.

Other residents also narrated their complaints to the seer.