People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 08

February 19, 2012




CPI(M) Extends Support to Kaiga Agitators


C R Shanbhag


ON January 26, CITU vice president Basudev Acharia, MP, visited the agitating people living near the Kaiga nuclear power station in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. The six villages where these people from about 500  families are living are Hatuga, Balemane, Kuchegar, Belse, Harur and Sulageri. All these villages are situated within the five km radius from the proposed nuclear station --- in the so-called ‘sterilised zone.’


At present, these agitating people are sitting in a dharna in front of the district collector’s office at Karwar. The problems they are facing are severe --- no rehabilitation, lack of employment and infrastructure, and lack of livelihood opportunities after the Kaiga power station would be commissioned. Also, they are under constant fear of radiation and experience tremors. For lack of health facilities, the population is burdened with newer fatal diseases. Whenever there is a terrorist alert, security personnel harass these people for weeks together.


As the plant would be in the sterilised zone, these people are not allowed to take up any new activity for livelihood while farming has become non-remunerative.


After having failed to get realised the promised assurances of a rehabilitation package and employment opportunities from the nuclear project authorities, they have now organised themselves in a Struggle Committee under the guidance of the taluk unit of the Karnataka Pranth Raita Sangh (AIKS).


The demands they have put up are simple: (1) the government must give adequate compensation for having acquired their lands in these six villages; (2) they must be provided alternative agricultural land with other necessary facilities; (3) at least one person from each affected family must be provided a government job; (4) all affected persons must get a suitable compensation and rehabilitation package; (5) a joint rehabilitation committee must be formed and all earlier decisions taken should be implemented.

After all their appeals to the authorities failed to evoke response from the government, the struggle committee decided to organise a sit-in (dharna) in front of the DC office from December 5, 2012.


Basudev Acharia, who is also vice chairman of the newly constituted parliamentary committee on disaster management, listened to the grievances of the agitators, toured the affected villages along with leaders of the struggle committee and also visited the power plant and held discussion with the authorities there. He then returned to the dharna site where he addressed the agitators. He opined that it is the duty of the central government to provide a suitable rehabilitation package without taking shelter under the technicalities of so-called exclusion or sterilised zone concepts, especially in view of the lessons that should have been learnt from a recent nuclear disaster in Japan.


Urging the people to continue their protest unitedly, he assured them to take up their demands with the concerned ministries and raise the issue on the floor of the parliament as well.     He extended full support of CPI(M) to their genuine demands.


KPRS (AIKS) state president Maruti Manpade, its district president Manjunath Pulkar, district CITU general secretary Yamuna Gaonkar and CPI(M) district committee member C R Shanbhag, among others, accompanied Acharia.