MANGALURU: With state leaders indicating that a thermal power plant will be built at Niddodi despite the numerous protests held in the past years, villagers are gathering forces to do whatever possible to stop the plant from coming up.
Villagers of Kallamundkuru, Niddodi, Thenkamijaru, Badagamijaru and Muchchuru met on Sunday and wrote a letter to the President of India requesting him to prevent the construction of the plant.
Activists and environmentalists also participated. Another meeting is expected to be held on Thursday.
This is after a year that the villagers are again beginning to agitate against the plant’s construction.
Some issues worrying the villagers are loss of agricultural land, destruction of perennial water sources and various religious shrines.
An activist against the power plant, Kiran Manjanbailu told Express that officials from the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) were paying frequent visits to Niddodi to map the village.
“This is obviously to acquire land in the five villages for the plant,” he said and added, “political bosses including MLAs, MPs, ministers of state as well as the Centre are giving a deaf ear to our appeals.”
The Niddodi power plant was initially designed to be 4,000 MW facility on an 8,000 acre plot as per KIADB’s plan. However, in 2012 and 2013 this faced major opposition from the villagers who chased away officials visiting the villages to conduct surveys.
Following the protests, the government decided to make four smaller power plants instead of the one proposed. The plants would come up at Tadadi and Hanakona in Uttara Kannada, Raichur and another at Niddodi. However, the plan never materialised.
Mathrabhoomi Samrakshana Horata Samiti activist Alphonse D’Souza said, “In May, 2013, at least 10,000 people participated in a protest against the power plant and sent post cards to the governor and the chief minister, but now we learn that all that struggle was in vain as the government will soon issue a notification for land acquisition.”
Rajesh Shetty, a farmer from Niddodi said the village is the only one in Dakshina Kannada that can boast of perennial water sources and a large variety of crops. The plant will jeopardise all this, he added.
Activist Shashidhar Shetty of Kallamundkuru village said the plant could affect Nandini and Shambavi rivers, which will be reduced to rivulets as the tributaries that bring water emanate from the villages.