#India – Displacement without rehabilitation


KARWAR, May 1, 2013

Govind D. Belgaumkar, The Hindu

A farmer whiles away his time in Todur, a rehabilitation colony, in the absence of land to till in Uttara Kannada district. Photo: Govind D.Belgaumkar
A farmer whiles away his time in Todur, a rehabilitation colony, in the absence of land to till in Uttara Kannada district. Photo: Govind D.Belgaumkar

Livelihood issues are at stake in Uttara Kannada district

With more than four-fifth of the land covered by forests and an evergreen range of mountains, Uttara Kannada is the greenest district of Karnataka. One would, therefore, expect issues of environmentalism to be in sharp focus in the May 5 Assembly elections.

However, much of the misfortunes of the people in this coastal district are neglected despite or because of the existence of big establishments such as INS Kadamba (Seabird project) and the Kaiga power plant in the area. A sizeable chunk of the population lives in penury having been evicted for various projects or are facing the threat of eviction. Most of the 4,444 families evicted for the Seabird project have been fighting for compensation for lands lost 25 years ago. They only received Rs. 155 per gunta of land acquired for the project. The fate of the evacuees in other hydro-electric projects such at Kodasalli, Supa, or across the Sharavathi is no different, according to Vittal Bhandari, State secretary of Samudaya, a leftist cultural forum.

As if this was not enough, several thousand families (the number is roughly between 30,000 and 50,000) — unflatteringly referred to as encroachers — who have been in occupation of forest lands for generations face the threat of eviction. They are unable to produce documents to prove ownership of the lands they have been tilling. Families still living within the exclusive zone (5-km radius according to activists, 1.6 km according to plant officials) of the Kaiga plant are awaiting rehabilitation. Hundreds more live in the forests falling within the Project Tiger — a section of Anasi National Park — and they too face the threat of eviction.

The district, with a literacy rate of 76 per cent, has very few industries, forcing the educated youth to migrate to neighbouring Goa, Maharashtra and lately Bangalore in search of jobs. The district, whose scenic beauty was admired by Ravindranath Tagore, has failed to emerge a tourism destination.

Halakki, Kunabi and Gouli tribal communities have been fighting for a tribal tag with no success, while fisher folk continue to be haunted by uncertain income. “We were neglected by the Bombay Presidency then, and thereafter by the State government,” rues S.R. Naik, retired principal of Shivaji College, Karwar.


Nuclear Effect: The Story of villages within the radiation zone

By Sayed Isthiyakh

KAIGA (KARWAR) – Kaiga located amidst dense forest of Sahyadri section of Western Ghats in Uttara Kannada District – one of the biggest districts of Karnataka State with abundant natural resources. The district has varied geographical features with thick forest, perennial rivers and abundant flora and fauna and a long coastal line.

Apart from natural resources the district has some man-made wonders. Supa Dam, Kadra Dam, Kodasalli Dam and Gerusoppa Dam are important among Hydro Electric Power Projects while Kaiga Generating Station is important Nuclear Power Project.

Kali Nadi Hydro Electric Project (KPCL) set-up across west flowing Kali River releases endless energy. Having origin at Diggi village in Western Ghats, joins Arabian Sea after completing journey of 160 kms.

The estimated power potential of the river is about 1700 MW with an annual yield of 6500 MU. Supa Dam, Kodasalli Dam, Kadra Dam are built in different phases having number of power generation units along with small dams across tributary rivers.

The main tribes of the district are Sidhi, Kunabi, Halakki Vokkaliga, Gonda and Gouli are spread across the district.

The five villages Balemane, Hartuga, Harur, Balase, and Sulageri come within five kilometers of radius of Kaiga Atomic Power Plant. The location of the villages and hamlets is that they are surrounded in one direction by Kaiga Atomic Power Plant, in another direction by Kali hydro power dam and its back water, and yet in another direction by the gigantic Sahyadri mountains.

This is a sensitive area wherein if any untoward man-made or natural disaster happens, it would be very difficult to protect the population residing in the area, it is even not possible to reach the area.

Read more here


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