A village inside the Bare Forest limits on the southern side of river Kali and very near to Kaiga plant. A tortuous Ghats road amidst the dense forest connects Kaiga village and Haroor.
There is a school up to standard 5 in the village. For further studies children have to walk 6 kilometers to Bare village, where there is a school up to standard 7. For high school studies children need to go to Malavalli village via Bare.
But, after villagers’ protest, authorities have started a transport service for school going children, which drops them 1 km away from school. While, KGS get new vehicles for their employees and school students regularly, these students have got an old vehicle.
There is no facility of public transport to this village. Villagers have to walk 12kms through the Bare forest to reach Kaiga where they catch busses to go to Mallapur for Gram Panchayat office, post office or for PDS.
Villagers of this village haven’t seen their MLA or MP so far, while party-men visit their houses during elections.
For health services villagers need to walk for 6 kms till Bare and thence reach PHC Malavalli by bus, where according to villagers services are not good and regular. In emergencies or in labor pain pregnant women are put in a ‘butti’ (basket made of bamboo) and carried on the head.
Kabbinagule is a hamlet 6 km away from this village with a population about fifty. This hamlet has no access to road and even a two-wheeler also can’t go through. For all the facilities like road, school, Post Office and PHC etc, villagers have to walk additional 6 km via Harur.
“It is difficult to live here while different kind of illness like joint pains, paralyses are on rise. After all the efforts we get hardly 15 quintals of rice while it was about 30 earlier. Growth of Coconut trees has seized.” says worried Dodtam Gouda, a farmer.
“I haven’t seen a postman in this village in my life, don’t mention about our elected representatives” says Kamanna when asked about the response of elected representatives.
“We see the newspapers on our visit to Karwar or Yellapur” he added.
“Though Kaiga is in commission from two decades, and its High Tension lines were passed through our village long back, we got the electricity two years back after repeated protests.” says Satish Paagi.
“As it is difficult and unaffordable to dig a well, we drink water from a local pond; in rainy season it gets contaminated with all kind of stuff, we don’t have any other option than drinking it. Gram Panchayat too is unconcerned over providing drinking water.” says Kamanna Gouda.
Village has access to neither telephone nor mobiles. And considerable numbers of people have not yet received land rights even though they have been settled here since several decades.
This hamlet of Devkar village falls within 1.5km of ariel distance from Kaiga Plant, has no pucca roads. Having about 80 families with four hundred plus population it has no access to any kind of basic amenities.
There was a school up to standard 5 in the same village, but administration has closed it stating insufficient number of students this year. Subsequently, only four children of this hamlet perusing the education at Bare village after walking for10kms; they leave houses around 6-7 am in the morning and come back to homes by 7 pm.
This hamlet falls within the PDS & Gram Panchayat jurisdiction of Mallapur which is 35 km away. People need to walk for 15kms to Kaiga through Harur village and have to catch the bus to Mallapur.
For health services villagers either have to take a mission to Mallapur or to Yellapur town by walking for 10kms till Bare village and thence by a bus journey of 30 kms. Here too, in emergency, sick are put in ‘butti’ and carried on the head. If it happens in the night time, better not to hope for anything good.
In this hamlet too many households have not received land rights yet even though they are the ‘Moola nivasi’.
Opinion of residents about political leaders is no different than people of villages. Village has no access to telephone and GSM coverage and newspapers.
Parameshwar Honnegouda says, “Sugarcane, Banana, Areca nut and paddy production is declined in these years. Sugarcane has lost all the sweetness. . Earlier it used to grow up to 12fts and now not even 6fts.”
“The noise from Kaiga plant that sounds like a thunder makes the ground and walls vibrate. Sometime we feel that it would collapse.” he adds along-with the list of different ailment the villagers facing.
Hartuga is another village that falls within 5kms of radius from Kaiga plant. In comparison with other affected villages this village is bit better with respect to the road connectivity as it is located en-route to Kaiga from Karwar, but faces peculiar problems due to the proximity and geographical location.
Though schools, Fair Price Shop, Health centre, Panchayat and Colleges are at situated at Mallapur and Kervadi at the distance of maximum 25 kms, availability of the bus service is a matter of satisfaction.
Shankar Ganpati Asnotikar, aged 37 years, a farmer says, “Along-with environment, agriculture is also destroyed. Farming here is of no use today. Though I personally didn’t face any health issue, I can’t deny the suffering of people due to various deceases. The noise from plant during operation and shut down of units is very horrible.”
“Due to radiations, grasses have lost the quality and are not had by cattle; this intern has affected the agrarian families. Fishes in the river too have lost the taste and dies untimely due to some decease” he added.
“I was shocked to see small holes and blood clots on the body of fishes recently, and thence I and my family have stopped eating fish.” he explains.
.“Drinking water in wells depends upon the Dam operation. Water level increases only while water is released from the Dam. The water we get in the wells is oily and sometimes hot. We fear the contamination caused by effluents of Kaiga Plant.” says Satish Paagi of Hartuga.
“Panchayat is also negligent regarding supply of drinking water. It was irregular and now water supply is totally defunct since two years. We drink water from a local pond; but that is also not potable during rainy season.” expressing the helplessness he said.
“Though there is a hospital run by Kaiga Authority, we villagers do not get admission. So far, a single person among locallite has not got a permanent job at the Kaiga project. They appoint us on contract basis, neither have we got the facilities nor job security.” he says pointing out at the step-motherly treatment with villagers by Kaiga Authorities.
Though Kaiga is operating since two decades and high tension lines are passed through village long back, this village got electricity 3 years back after repeated protests by villagers. While, village still have no access to telephone and newspapers.
Mangala Ganapati Naik, 36 yr old a former employee of Kaiga plant, who was working in gardening, has been suffering from womb cancer since two years. She, her relatives and neighbors believe that Kaiga radiation is cause for her ailment. According to them many of the employees, especially who work in contract are affected with cancer, but not diagnosed and revealed.
She is currently undergoing the treatment at Karnataka Cancer Therapy and Research centre at Hubli. Since her husband has abandoned the family, her elder son quit the school while in 10th standard and is working since two year to support the family. Even after she worked for several years, she has not even got any assistance from the Kaiga Plant, says her son.
On asking why you are working at N-plant even after your mother had problem, he said, “we don’t have any option other than working at Kaiga. We don’t have agricultural land also.”
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