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News and Pic. by Hareesh Kumar Hejmady
Villagers from Yellur and other nearby villages stop UPCL-Hassan electricity line work
Padubidri, May 14th, 2012: When KPTCL restarted their UPCL-Hassan electricity line cable laying work with the eleborate police force presence, villagers from Yellur and other nearby villages led by Yellur Grama Panchayat president Sumana, member Jayant Kumar, Nagesh Bhat, ZP member Arun Shetty, VHP district vice president Prakash Shetty Padebettu, Naveen N. Shetty and others opposed to the work and demanded stopping this illegal work. In response to this, KPTCL Supt. Engineer Govind Rao and Executive Engineer PDB Rao said that Disctrict Commissioner has given them permission for the cable laying work and therefore the work is being undertaken. Disagreeing to this, Jayant Kumar said that the licence issued by DC grants permission to lay electricity wires from Nandikur to Hassan, the wire should not be laid in Yellur Grama Panchayat limits, till the GP gives permission for the same.
KPTCL Executive Engineer PDB Rao informed media persons present there that the work is in progress 180 km long electricity cable laying and 90% of work has been completed from Shantipura in Hassan to UPCL. The work is pending in three to four places including Nandikur-Yellur road where three towers to be erected. "The panchayat permission is required in only those places where the wire passes through forest land," he said.
During the protest, a senior citizen Vishwanath Bhat, stopped an vehicle undertaking cable laying work by sleeping in front of it and challenging them to run over him and resume work. He yelled that he would not allow any work which is depriving people of their fundamental rights. Raghavendra Bhat and Muddu Moolya family members informed the media that they have not received any notice, cheque or compensation and the electric line is drawn forcibly through their property. Responding to this, KPTCL Supt. Engineer Govind Rao said that they have brought the cheque, but the families are refusing the same saying that the amount is not sufficient.
Kaup Circle Inspector Shivanand Walekar and Padubdri Police sub-inspector K. Mahadeva Setty led the strong police presence. Despite the request from the police, the protesters went ahead and stopped the cable laying work.
However, around 3.15 pm, the KPTCL officials managed to get written permission from the Udupi DC and on producing the same, the villagers withdrew their protest. Jayant Kumar, who led the protest, however said that the permission from local administration is still needed for the work even after obtaining clearance from forest and environmental department, and also the permission was granted only till Nandikur and not Yellur. He also informed that he would challenge DC's order in the Supreme Court.