UDUPI: Pejawar Mutt pontiff Vishwesha Theertha called off his planned three-day fast on the second day on Tuesday after the government promised to set up a task force to look into the measures taken to reduce pollution caused by coal-based Udupi Power Corporation Limited plant.
He called off the fast after Higher Education Minister V S Acharya conveyed to him the government’s decision to set up on a priority basis a task force to study measures to address the issues affecting environment there. The pontiff had started his fast on Monday after the government dropped his nominees — Ramakrishna and Ramachandra — from the expert panel set up to look into the ill-effects of UPCL plant.
Defending the government’s decision to drop the two from the committee, Acharya asked the pontiff to suggest four other names, of which the government would choose two for the task force.
Acharya said that CM D V Sadananda Gowda had agreed to consider drawing sweet water from Shabhavi River to cool towers. Vishwesha Theertha said that he did not call off the strike due to ill-health. “I will wait for six months. If there is no response from the government, then I will start an indefinite fast,” he said. The pontiff, however, said though he withdrew the fast, the dharna would continue till Wednesday.
Earlier, Acharya was gheraoed by members of Nandikur Jana Jagruthi Samithi agitating along with the pontiff, who asked him to live in the affected area.