At present two units of a total capacity of 1600 mw are operating in Ellur village and UPCL plans to extend the capacity by 1800 mw by setting up of two more units. Over 2000 members of the general public participated in the meeting.
Many of the speakers at the meeting chose to shower praises on the UPCL much to the fury of the opponents of the project. A resident of Uchhila Bada village, in his haste to praise the company even used the word ” On behalf of all people of our village” only to become a laughing stock.
“Most of those who attended the meeting were people from elsewhere who resided in rented houses here. Many of them who did not raise a word against those who spoke in favour of the company, were instead obstructing those who spoke against the company, The failure of the police to restrict these people has hurt opponents of the project,” said an activist fighting against the project.
Farmer leader Vijay Kumar Hegde alleged that the UPCL was functioning without any requisite permit though it is mandatory for the common man to secure licence from the panchayat to even open a small shop. The DC need to take note of this point, he added.
Most of those who participated in the meeting demanded jobs for locals as well as utilisation of CSR funds of the company in the village.
Former minister and local MLA Vinay Kumar Sorake who also spoke urged the company to fulfil the assurances it gave to the local residents. He also stressed the need to study the carrying capacity of the region. “Let us discuss expansion of the project after it fulfils its earlier assurances,” he said.
Finally, Udupi Deputy Commissioner Venkatesh concluded by stating that a report regarding the public views elicited on the occasion would be sent to the Union Environment Ministry.