Demand for a separate union territory status for Karaikal grew vociferous as members of the Karaikal Struggle Group staged a token hunger strike, here in T.R. Pattinam on Tuesday.

Of the charter of other demands voiced here was the call for a ban on coal handling by the Karaikal Port on environmental grounds. According to the KSG, handling of coal cargo entails transport of coal and fly ash that pose a health hazard to the people living nearby .

The protestors also sought diversion of over 600 acres of land worth Rs.300 crore that were earlier acquired for industrial purposes, towards setting up educational institutions. According to the agitators, the land held for more than a decade by the government to set up an industrial hub was left unused. Further, the potential transfer of the said lands for a proposed Special Economic Zone in the area would not be acceptable, they said . They demanded an educational hub in the area by setting up colleges and institutions of higher learning in the vast available area in the region.

Pitching strongly for a UT status on grounds of backwardness of Karaikal and the geographical incongruity with the Puducherry mainland, the KSG cadre said the distance of over 150 km from Puducherry has left Karaikal neglected for more than five decades.

Selvashanmugam, Convenor, Karaikal Struggle Group, led the protest .

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