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Udupi Power Corporation, Karnataka, India


The Udupi Power Corporation Limited (Formerly Nagarjuna Power Corporation Limited) project is an imported coal-based 1,200 Mw thermal power project in Udupi District of Coastal region of Karnataka [1]. The total cost of the project was Rs 5,800 crore. About 76 per cent of the project cost is debt borrowed from a consortium of bankers and financial institutions led by Power Finance Corporation (PFC). The 180 km long Transmission Line set up at a cost of Rs 560 crore was dedicated to the nation on September 12, 2012. Presently, both the units of the Project are in Operation and an average of 1,100 Mw of power is supplied to Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) grid at Hassan. The company is supplying power at Rs 3.15 per unit to the state as per the power purchase agreement signed between the company and the state government [2] People in the villages near the thermal plant suffered because of fly ash and the coal dust emit during the transportation of coal. Their agricultural and horticultural crops had been destroyed because of pollution [3]. On June 1, 2011, activists with the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) blocked the Mangalore-Mumbai Matsyagandha Express train in Nandikoor, Karnataka. The purpose of the protest was to show opposition to the transportation of coal by railway from the New Mangalore Port to the Udupi station. According to the activists, a condition for the environmental clearance granted to the plant was that coal would be transported through a closed conveyer system. Transportation in open railroad cars was producing damage to crops, agricultural land, drinking water, and public health [4].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Udupi Power Corporation, Karnataka, India
State or province:Karnataka
Location of conflict:Village Kolachuru, Yelluru; District-Udupi
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Other industries
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Udupi Power Project is built with an investment of Rs.60,020 million and is situated at a distance of 35 Kms from Mangalore. The plant will be supplied by the imported coal (about 4 million tons per annum from Indonesia. Sea water is used to meet the condenser cooling and other water requirements. Re-circulating type of circulating water (CW) system with natural draft cooling towers is installed. Desalination of seawater is carried out to meet the freshwater the plant requirement for. The total capacity of the power plant is about 1200MW (2X600MW). The Udupi Power Project supplies 90% of the power generated to Karnataka State and 10% to Punjab State. UPCL is the first independent power project using 100% imported coal as fuel in the country [1,8].

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Level of Investment:970,296,500
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:10
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:Udupi Power Corporation Ltd from India - Formerly Nagarjuna Power Corporation Limited, is a subsidiary of Lanco Infratech Ltd.
Lanco Infratech Ltd from India
Relevant government actors:Power Finance Corporation , Government of Karnataka, Karnataka Pollution Control Board, Government of Punjab
International and Finance InstitutionsPower Finance Corporation (PFC) from India
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Sri Vishweshateertha Swamiji, head of Pejavar Mutt undertook three-day long fast on the issue of Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL). The protest is planned against the government’s action of dropping two subject experts from the committee of experts appointed by the government to study the environmental pollution and other ill-effects of UPCL [6] Villagers and KRRS activists held a massive protest near the Udupi IB when chief minister B S Yeddyurppa skipped the meeting of UPCL protesters and KRRS activists and farmers meeting [7]
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:Gram panchayats had passed resolutions urging the Government to shift the thermal plant as it was not suited to the region [9]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:People in nearby villages (about 10 villages) faced hardship owing to pollution from the UPCL. This is mainly because of improper transportation of Coal. The coal is transported in open carriage. There is also no proper effluent treatment facility. Discharge of effluents from the plant had contaminated water sources in the villages and destroyed crops. Children and elderly are suffering from health problems such as cough and allergies because of fly-ash generated at the plant.
Politicians and the district administration turned a blind eye to these problems. Traditional ('Kairampani') fishermen had been promised by the then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa that they would given a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh each in 2010 owing to the problems caused by UPCL pipelines. Even the Deputy Commissioner had directed UPCL to release cheques through the tahsildar. But there had been no action on it. Also there were promise of education to the children of migrant workers, which has not been fulfilled [9].
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

The Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1974
[click to view]

The Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1981
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Udupi Power Corporation Ltd

[click to view]

Udupi: Manorama Challenges BJP to Protest Against UPCL

[8] Udupi Power Corporation Limited
[click to view]

[2] Udupi Power commissions 600 Mw plant
[click to view]

[4] Udupi power station
[click to view]

[5] KRRS protests against Konkan Railway for transporting coal to UPCL
[click to view]

[6] Udupi: UPCL Issue Protest - Pejavar Swamiji to Undertake Fast
[click to view]

[7] Villagers protest as CM skips UPCL meeting
[click to view]

JSKPPS to Knock High Court’s Doors over UPCL pollution
[click to view]

[9] Villages facing hardship owing to pollution from the Udupi Power Corporation Ltd
[click to view]

[3] KRRS to protest against UPCL on December 26
[click to view]

Manorama Challenges BJP to Protest Against UPCL
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

A Documentary on UPCL Thermal Power Plant, Nandikur, Karnataka, India - Problems faced by the locals
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update08/04/2014
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