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Three injured as police cane agitating Chamalapura farmers

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Protest turns ugly: Policemen taking away an activist protesting against the Chamalapura power project, in Mysore on Wednesday.
Protest turns ugly: Policemen taking away an activist protesting against the Chamalapura power project, in Mysore on Wednesday.

Special Correspondent

The condition of one of them is said to be serious

MYSORE: The agitation against the proposed coal-based 1000 MW thermal power plant at Chamalapura took an ugly turn on Wednesday when the police resorted to lathi-charge in which three farmers were injured.

The injured have been shifted to a private hospital and the condition of one of the farmers is said to be serious. The activists led by the Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens of Mysore (ACICM) were supported by freedom fighter K.N. Seetharam Iyengar, former Minister M. Shivanna, Kannada activist P. Mallesh, advocate Arun Kumar, and ACICM convenor M. Lakshman.

The activists and farmers, were staging a rasta roko on outer ring road linked to Bangalore-Mysore Highway.

The situation took an ugly turn when the police prevented the activists from getting close to the highway.

They were in no mood to listen to the representatives of some non-governmental organisations who pointed out that they had secured police permission to stage a protest on the highway for 10 minutes.

However, the police turned down their request and got embroiled in an argument. Meanwhile, a few leaders squatted on the road to protest against the police highhandedness.

But the latter ordered that the activists, including Mr. Shivanna and Mr. Lakshmana, be taken into custody.

As they were bundled into a police van, other protestors blocked the vehicle and called for the immediate release of their leaders. But the police resorted to lathi-charge and chased them away.

A farmer, Raju, was injured and his condition is said to be serious.

Two more farmers, who were also injured in the incident, were taken to K.R. Hospital and later shifted to a private hospital. According to non-governmental organisations, the proposed power plant has social and environmental implications.

It requires 3,000 acres of land that will result in the eviction of a large number of people. More than 20,000 people will be directly affected.

Since the coal-based plant will be located a mere 35 km from Mysore, environmentalists have cautioned against the negative fallout of the project, including the problem associated with disposing of fly ash and acid rain, and the fear that the eco-system downstream of the Kabini, which flows close by, will be ruined owing to pollution. Despite opposition to the thermal power project, the Government has decided to form a special purpose vehicle to implement power projects.

Even the Environmental Impact Assessment, which is mandatory for such projects, is yet to be taken up.

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