Mangalore: July 28, 2013: The coastal belt is now witness to another agitation against a mega coal-based thermal power project.
This time, the residents have taken cudgels against the 4,000-MW plant proposed at Niddodi in the taluk. They sat on a hunger strike from 6 am to 6 pm on Sunday, to register their protest.
With the thermal power project at Nandikur in neighbouring Udupi district having caused considerable environmental damage, they are wary of the damage that a project four times bigger proposed at Niddodi, 35 km from here, may cause.
The residents are unanimous in their vow not to allow the power plant to come up, irrespective of the inducements. The residents said no details about the project were forthcoming. But the mention of the project in the budget presented by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has made them sit up and take note.
The hunger strike is aimed at expressing opposition to the project in the initial stage itself, The local people’s representatives and officials have no information in this regard. That the agitation drew 2,000 people in a small place like Niddodi, in spite of rain, shows the extent of the anger.
The protesters, under the banner of ‘Matrubhoomi Samrakshana Samiti,’ raised slogans and said that they would write to the chief minister, demanding that the project should not be taken any further. The strike received a shot in the arm, with residents from neighbouring villages joining the protest against the proposed power plant.
Shops and business establishments remained closed and buses were off the road during the protest. Member of Parliament Nalin Kumar Kateel and leaders of various parties took part in the agitation. Minister Abhaychandra Jain, who came in the morning, went away without providing any proper information regarding the project proposal.
Police had to disperse the agitators as vehicular traffic was affected. The protestors warned that they would be forced to intensify the strike, if the government does not rescind on the decision to set up the thermal plant.
The Niddodi project is one of the projects proposed in many states with Central government assistance.
The plant is likely to come up on 8,000 acres of land and the government already has 700 acres. It is said that the project is being proposed at Niddodi as one of the prerequisites is easy accessibility to a port to facilitate transportation of coal.