Panaji: Taking on the Prime Minister`s Office head on, an All India Congress Committee (AICC) official has demanded that the villagers within the sterilised zone of northern Karnataka`s Kaiga Nuclear Power Project should be provided with compensation and relocated.
Shantaram Naik, AICC secretary in-charge of Karnataka and the only Rajya Sabha member from Goa, has also called for increasing the limits of the sterilised zone around Kaiga nuclear plant, located in the Uttar Kannada district, which borders the southern part of Goa.
"The sterlised zone of Kaiga project will have to be increased and the families who reside in the additional area have to be shifted by giving them appropriate package," said Naik even as the stated position of the Prime Minister`s Office is that "no promises were made" to those living in the villages which fall in the sterilised zone.
Villagers of Hartuga, Balase Balemane, Haruru and Kuchegar, which fall within the five-km sterilised zone around the Kaiga nuclear plant, claim they have been consistently denied access to healthcare, education and even employment and have been demanding relocation from the zone because of possible "radiation and tremors" induced by the nuclear activity inside the plant.
The demands of the villagers have been rekindled by the popular agitation against the Kundankulam nuclear power plant in southern Tamil Nadu.
In the recently concluded budget session of parliament, Minister of State in the Prime Minister`s Office V. Narayanasamy said that rehabilitation of families affected by the takeover of the land for the project had already been completed.
"No promises were made to the people living in the vicinity regarding acquisition of land in the sterilized zone," Narayanasamy said in reply to a question by Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut.
Naik, meanwhile, has also called for providing employment to the local population in sensitive central government projects like the Indian Navy`s `Project Sea Bird` and the Kaiga nuclear plant.