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Union rivalry led to Kaiga radiation leak?

December 04, 2009 16:05 IST

The controversy over radioactive contamination of drinking water at the Kaiga nuclear power plant has taken a new twist.

The Karnataka Police now suspect that an inter-union dispute within the plant could have led to this entire act, in which over 50 employees fell sick.

Superintendent of Police (Uttar Kannada) Rama Gupta had sensed this problem almost a year ago and had shot off two letters in March and July to the plant authorities as well as the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited stating that an inter-union rivalry could lead to the security of the plant being compromised.

The Kaiga plant employees have two unions that have been at loggerheads for some time now. In fact, one of the unions was unhappy with a new incentive-based programme and had sought its scrapping. However, the top management was adamant and went ahead with programme, as it had the backing of the other union.

Investigators believe that the rival faction could have used the opportunity to embarrass the top management, and contaminated the water coller.

Kaiga plant officials are tight-lipped about this development.

Plant Station Director J P Gupta said there was an inter-union dispute within the plant, but it was highly unlikely that this may have led to the incident.

Security suggestions: The local police has suggested that security be beefed up at the Kaiga plant. A few suggestions made by them include declaring a 5 km stretch of the Kali river as a No Fishing Zone. This should be undertaken to ensure that no fishermen come near the nuclear plant. The low compound walls were another concern that was raised besides improved lighting around the plant.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru