Madurai

Residents hoist black flags

Assistant Director (Panchayat) V Kesavadasan holding talks with residents of Uppur at the grama sabha meeting in Ramanathapuram district on Thursday.

Assistant Director (Panchayat) V Kesavadasan holding talks with residents of Uppur at the grama sabha meeting in Ramanathapuram district on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: L_Balachandar

A cross-section of residents of Morepannai, a coastal fishing hamlet near Uppur, hoisted black flags in the village and on their fishing boats on Independence Day on Thursday in protest against laying of the 7.8 km-long ‘Sea water intake and outfall’ pipelines for the upcoming 1,600 MW Uppur Supercritical Thermal Power Plant.

The villagers forced the zonal deputy block development officer, who chaired the gram sabha meeting to postpone the meeting. After they insisted that the meeting would adopt resolutions against the power project and pipeline laying works, the official postponed the meeting stating that he could not be a party to resolutions against the government.

V. Kesavadasan, Assistant Director (Panchayats), rushed to the village and held talks with the residents but failed to convince them to proceed with the meeting. When the residents insisted that Collector K. Veera Raghava Rao should address them and allay their apprehensions, Mr Rao spoke to the village leaders over phone and assured that he would take necessary action after making a site inspection.

K. Govindan, president of the ‘grama nirvaga committee,’ and Durai Balan, a fishermen representative, said about 3,000 people lived in the village and they depend on traditional fishing using country boats for their livelihood. The laying of pipeline between Morepannai and Thirupalaikudi would totally destroy their livelihood, they said.

Pointing that a make-shift road has been formed inside the sea up to two km and the pipelines ran through the mangrove forest area, they said the work disturbed the tranquillity of the area. The process of sea water intake and outfall (after cooling the plants) would also disturb fish habitats and hit their livelihood, they alleged. They said the officials failed to take the villagers into confidence and ally their apprehensions before commencing the work.

Officials said Tangedco, the executive agency of Upper power plant, had launched the work after obtaining necessary clearances and fulfilling the conditions.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 10:48:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/residents-hoist-black-flags/article29103528.ece

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