Uttara Kannada to rise up against Kaiga expansion

Members of United Conservation movement, Citizens and Environment lovers campaigning “Save Western Ghats” during their protest against Sharavathi underground pumped storage project, Kaiga Nuclear Reactors and Power Line to Goa, in front of Town hall in Bengaluru. (DH Photo)

Scaling up their opposition against the expansion of Kaiga, activists are organising a massive rally at Wada of Mallapur near the atomic power station on Sunday, bringing together environmentalists and religious leaders to send a strong message to the state and the Union governments.

Though the protest against the proposed expansion of Kiaga dates back to 2010, the renewed push against the project has come in the wake of the approval by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change for setting up two units with an installed capacity of 700 MW each.

"When the existing capacity of the plant remains unutilised, there is no need for the government to expand it at the cost of thousands of trees. The negative health effects of the plant have multiplied in the years after a report in 2013 revealed the rising number of cancer cases," said activist Gurudas S Fayde.

The existing plant with 880 MW capacity (220 MW X 4) is connected to the southern grid and supplies power to five states. While officials have stressed the need for expansion of the plant considering the future requirements, activists have opposed the move, citing the rising burden on the environment.

Fayde said scientists and experts from across the state will share the stage with heads of five mutts to speak about the project at Wada of Mallapur near Kaiga. "About 2,000 people had opposed the project during the public hearing. On Sunday, more than 5,000 people from Karwar, Ankola, Yellapur, Kaiga and nearby areas will gather to say a firm no to the project," he added.

He said they have also filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal, questioning the nod for the project. The protest on the ground, however, will continue till the government withdraws the permission for expansion, he added.

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