Jaitapur: “Oh God, come to our rescue, save our livelihood. We don’t want the project to come up on our land. Take it away from here. Please grant us our request.”
Sitting in the courtyard of the Anjaneshwar temple in Mithgawane village, Ratnagiri district, around 2,000 villagers chant this prayer at least once a week. The ‘unwanted’ project is the proposed nuclear power plant eight km from Jaitapur village.
Over the past year, the temple has doubled up as a meeting ground — cutting across caste, class and religion — for the villagers who all face a common problem.
The 938-hectare land spread across five villages — Madban, Mithgawane, Karel, Niweli and Ansure in Ratnagiri district —has lush paddy fields, mango orchards, and acres of grass for cattle to graze. And it’s poised to house six pressurised heavy water reactors imported from France to generate 10,000 mega watt of power for Maharashtra.
The plant, which will be around 450 km from Mumbai, is the outcome of the 2008 Indo-French agreement, India’s first international collaboration after the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group lifted restrictions on civil nuclear cooperation.
At the temple meeting, prayers are followed by discussions of the project.