‘Drop Chamalapura power plant’

Staff Correspondent

Farmers, litterateurs, activists take part in rally in Mysore

MYSORE: More than 5,000 farmers, litterateurs, activists of progressive organisations, theatre personalities and students, who participated in a rally organised by the Chamalapura Ushna Vidyut Sthavara Virodhi Horata Samanvaya Samithi here on Wednesday, have urged the Government to drop the plan to set up the 1,000-mw coal-based thermal power plant at Chamalapura.

Writer U.R. Ananthamurthy inaugurated the rally.

Speakers appealed to the farmers against parting with their land for the power plant. They have communicated to the Government that under no circumstances they will allow the plant to come up as, according to them, it is detrimental to their lives and livelihood. They demanded an explanation from the Government on the rationale behind branding fertile land as barren land and cautioned that there would be a repetition of what happened at Nandigram in West Bengal, if the State used force in the matter.

The rally was inaugurated by 12 schoolchildren from rural areas in a novel way by watering a plant. After that, they appealed to the Government to stop the thermal plant and “save tomorrow” for them.

Delivering his inaugural address, science writer J.R. Lakshman Rao regretted that the Government, which was organising workshops for schoolchildren on alternative sources of energy, was all set to establish a thermal power plant to meet the increasing demand for power, instead of opting for alternative energy sources.

Writer Devanuru Mahadeva called upon the people to defeat those candidates who did not oppose the plant, in the elections to the local bodies. “See to it that those who do not support the movement lost their deposits,” he said.

The former Deputy Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, has said that no Government should take away land of farmers forcibly. In case of such attempts, the farmers should protest. “We will stand by you in your struggle to save your land, water and environment,” he said.

Accusing the Government of not conducting an energy audit, he said that shortage of power could be compensated by containing transmission loss. Mr. Siddaramiah also observed that no State could withstand people’s power.

The former Union Minister, V. Srinivasa Prasad, sought to know the basis on which the Government concluded that the land at Chamalapura was barren. He said farmers should put up a united struggle against the project.

Calling upon the people of Mysore region to take part in the ongoing agitation against the plant, the former Minister, H. Vishwanath, said that this Government was going against the interests of the people because it was directly elected by the people. “The former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, is no more a son of the soil as he is acting against the interests of the sons of soil,” he said.

Journalist Gauri Lankesh and Vittal Hegde Kalkuli alleged that the Government was bent upon helping multi-national companies at the cost of farmers. This was what was happening in the Kudremukh National Park Area, Nandigudi and Chamalapura. They said that politics was now being controlled by MNCs instead of people.

Theatre personality Prasanna noted that it was time for the Government to think of the kind of development that will help in the uplift of the poor and address the agrarian crisis. “Meanwhile, we should be cautious about the conspiracy of the United States which is bent upon imposing a nuclear deal on us,” he said.

Opposing the project, MP Vijayashankar said that he had urged the Prime Minister to stop the State Government from implementing the project as it was detrimental to the interest of the people.

Association for Concerned and Informed Citizens of Mysore convener Lakshman urged the leaders on the dais to act before October 30. “Or else, companies that participated in the tender will gain the upper hand,” he said.

Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha president K.S. Puttannaiah urged the people against allowing government officials into their village to conduct survey.

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