UPCL told to take up afforestation

11:54 AM, Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

UPCLPadubidri: Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment B Ramanath Rai instructed the Udupi Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) management to take up afforestation all over the district under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.

Speaking after a spot visit on Monday, the minister said the plant, which has come up following stiff opposition from public, should ensure smooth functioning without being hazardous to the environment.

Rai said the company should come forward to take up initiatives to wipe away the ill-effects of the plant as taking up small projects is not sufficient. The thermal plant has massively affected the environment in the surroundings. The company should take measures to set right the damages. The environment should be protected at any cost, he said and added that the company should join hands with the forest department, which in turn would allot land for the plantation of the saplings.

Referring to the revival of the lakes in Bengaluru by the corporate companies and the work of afforestation taken up by Jindal industries in Ballari on 100 acres of land, the minister said the corporate companies that make use of the local resources should in turn offer substantive benefits in terms of protecting the nature.

Secretary to Government for Ecology and Environment Ramachandra said the company should inform the locals about the air pollution by taking up monitoring programme twice in a week within a 10 kilometre radius.

He added that coal bits which get into the ground and later join the ground water table badly affect the water bodies in the surroundings. The UPCL has the responsibility to monitor the ground water table regularly and the report should be made public. The gram panchayat representatives should be given details, he said.

Ramachandra said inspection should be done by the third party recognised by the Ministry of Forest. The ash collected from the plant should also be disseminated locally to ensure the employment opportunities to the locals, he noted.

Ramachandra said the company has not taken up the study on the key stone species in the Western Ghats which would be affected by the acid and other effluents. The benefits of the company’s CRS activities are limited to only seven villages and not to the entire district. The company claims that the 72% of the employment is offered to the locals. It seems to be far from truth, he remarked.

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