KARWAR: The protest by residents of five villages in the vicinity of Kaiga nuclear power plant urging for the fulfillment of their demands, has gained momentum with residents of a few more villages joining the agitation. The agitators have also mounted pressure on the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd to fulfill their demands.
About 1500 people are protesting outside the DC office at Kodibagilu and several of them hail from Honnavar, Ankola, Kumta, Joida and Yellapur. As per a national health survey, several people residing within the 100 km vicinity of the plant were suffering from health problems due to radiation.The agitators allege that the Kaiga authorities have turned a deaf ear to the complaints of the people. Reports say anti-nuclear power project agitators from Goa and Maharashtra too would be arriving to take part in the protest that has gained momentum in the backdrop of the proposal to have two more units to the existing plant.
“Kaiga expansion will not be allowed”
Sri Gangadharendra Saraswathi Swamiji of Swarnawalli Mutt in Uttara Kannada district has now waged a battle against the proposed setting up of the fifth and sixth units of Kaiga.
Here are excerpts from an interview with him.
Why is there so much opposition for Kaiga ?
The Kaiga nuclear power plant has been creating health and environment related problems for the people. The plant came up despite stiff opposition to the same about 25 years ago. I have plunged into the anti-Kaiga movement seeing the sufferings of the people due to the project.
Is the plant responsible for the problems or is it mere speculation ? I have seen the problems faced by people with my own eyes. Devotees residing in several villages in the vicinity of the plant have explained to me the health problems confronted by them. I have visited these places personally. Problems are fewer as one moves away from the plant.
What actually are you opposing ? The fifth and sixth plants or the entire project ? It is unjustifiable to set up the fifth and sixth units. Presently nuclear power plants are strongly opposed at several places in the nation.
Why can’t we drop the Kaiga project ? How will this agitation continue? We have held discussions with devotees, scientists and environmentalists and have formulated a three point strategy. Firstly, to create an awareness drive, secondly to take to legal recourse and finally to elicit the views of scientists and submit a report to the government. The Fukushima tragedy gave a momentum to the anti-Kaiga agitation.
Is it proper on the part of religious heads to take part in agitations and politics ? It is good to join any noble cause. We are not entering politics. We are only fighting for the rights of the people and for the sake of environment protection.
Citizens decide to fight against Kaiga extension
YELLAPUR : A meeting of enlightened citizens held at the Vajralli Adarsha Sahakari Sabhabhavan recently strongly opposed the proposed extension of the Kaiga nuclear power project by initiating the fifth and sixth units. It also resolved to launch a strong movement under the able guidance of the Swarnavalli seer. The decision has been taken in the wake of the environment pollution caused by the plant leading to health problems in residents of the project vicinity.
The meeting resolved to urge the authorities to conduct a joint heath survey of people of the project vicinity, to keep a regular watch on the health of the people and provide them compensation in case they are facing problems. It was also resolved to urge the authorities to conduct free medical check-ups for the cattle in the area too. Various leaders of the anti-Kaiga agitation took part in the meeting.
SHRC serves notice to authorities on Kaiga
SIRSI : State Human Rights Commission Chairman Justice SR Nayak has said that the Commission has served a notice to the Kaiga Project Director and Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner in the backdrop of the concerns raised by public and environmentalists following the recent fire mishap in Kaiga.
Nayak has said that there was need for the government to conduct a thorough inspection of the Kaiga plant in the wake of the recent fire mishap as well as the several other mishaps that took place in the plant earlier. “The safety of the people of the district is more important than generating power in Kaiga,” he said and urged the government to conduct a health survey of people in the vicinity of the project, following the fears expressed by people regarding the health hazards posed by the plant.
Villagers say no to Kaiga extension proposal
KARWAR: Villagers residing in villages in and around the vicinity of the Kaiga nuclear power plant, who participated in a meeting with the Kaiga officials at Churchvada in Mallapura, have expressed their strong opposition to any move to extend the Kaiga nuclear power plant.
Presently, Kaiga is generating power in four units and villagers complained that the plant has already caused much environment pollution and that the pollution has been increasing day by day and was also having a negative impact on the health of the people.
The villagers further expressed fears that the setting up of the fifth and sixth units would make life difficult for the people of the area due to the high radiation levels. It may also affect the bio-diversity of the region, they said.
Presently, Kaiga is generating 220 mw of power in its four units. It is reported that ever since the plant was set up two decades ago, some varieties of mushrooms and fruits have become extinct in the region and that the NPLC officials have themselves warned against consuming some varieties of mushrooms. Another complaint of the villagers was that the plant has resulted in several hazardous diseases like skin cancer and it remains no secret that the radiation emitted by the plant was the reason for the same.
Villagers also expressed their ire over the government for failing to fulfill the assurances given before the setting up of the first unit of Kaiga. If the authorities had assured that the areas in the vicinity of the plant would develop, leave apart development, the villagers have been only panic-stricken. The officials however assured that the assurances given earlier would be shortly fulfilled.