Udupi: The interest of the state comes first, said D K Shivakumar, Minister for Energy. His response came after a question was raised on whether the state government would give its nod to the extension of UPCL power project covering 740 acres of land around Mudarangadi and Yellur. He was speaking at a press meet held at the Udupi Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) on Monday, August 24, after the plant was shut down following technical issues.
LANCO, which was earlier operating UPCL, had sent a proposal for the extension of the project. The government has to think about the feasibility of the project and the decision will be taken considering the state’s interest. However, he also said that he has not received any appeals from the present management for the extension of the project.
The UPCL plant at Nandikoor shut down its operations since August 8 following technical problems. Severe winds in the coastal area have damaged the pipeline in the sea which is used to pump water for the plant. Silt has entered the pipelines causing severe damage. The management has initiated steps to resume its operations by fixing the technical issues. The Adani group has now hired a vessel to arrive at the intake point and rectify the issues.
The state is in a severe power crisis. Shortfall of rains has affected hydro-power generation units in the state. The state owned hydro electric power generation unit at Linganamakki dam will run for another 15 days after which it may have to shut down if sufficient rain is not received this week. Thermal power generation units in Bellary and Raichur are in severe crisis and are facing technical issues. If the crisis continues, the state may have to purchase 900 MW of power from other sources. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has met PM Narendra Modi and has demanded for 1200 MW of power; a meeting is also scheduled with the union power minister for additional power.
The promises made by UPCL to the farmers, fisherman and locals will be honoured. The government will initiate steps to ensure that the promises are fulfilled. He also said that MLA Pramod Madhwaraj has appealed to the Energy Ministry for provision of round the clock power to Udupi district as the plant is situated in the district. He said that as the people have cooperated with the commencing of the project, the demand of transmitting electricity round the clock to the district will be honoured. He directed the UPCL management to initiate steps to resume operations in the plant as the state is in severe power crisis.
The members of the Kisan Sangh complained that UPCL was violating the norms formulated by the Karnataka Pollution Control Board. They also said that the farmers are on the verge of committing suicide as the UPCL management has sent a proposal for the extension of the project covering 740 acres of land. Later, they submitted a memorandum to Energy Minister D K Shivkumar.
MLA Pramod Madhwaraj and the management of UPCL were present.