Scrap Jaitapur nuclear power project, locals tell Maha CM

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan`s visit on Saturday to the proposed Jaitapur nuclear project site here saw protests by the local people who are opposing the 9,900 MW power plant.

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2011, 17:35 PM IST

Jaitapur: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan`s visit on Saturday to the proposed Jaitapur nuclear project site here saw protests by the local people who
are opposing the 9,900 MW power plant.

Chavan was greeted by slogan-shouting women from Sakhrinate village during his interaction with people. The local outfits like Janhit Seva Samitee from Madban village and the fishermen from Sakrinate village asked the Chief Minister to scrap the project.

Praveen Gawankar of Janhit Seva Samitee said, "936 hectares of land has been acquired through undemocratic means and through police atrocities. The Chief Minister should re-examine how the land acquisition process was conducted."

He also said Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) was not stating the truth by saying that even pregnant women can work at the plant, because at Tarapur, where the first nuclear project came up in 1960, there was a board
barring pregnant women from entering.

There was also risk of contracting cancer, he added.

"The locals are not opposing the project for more compensation... let us live in peace and scrap the project. Also return our lands," Gawankar said.

Another villager, Amjad Borkar from Sakrinate, said marine life would be endangered and livelihood of fishermen community here would be destroyed due to the project.

"Maharashtra has a poor record on rehabilitation and the government has not addressed concerns of farmers as to whether the project would harm crops of cashew, Alphonso mango; and fishing," Borkar said.

Shiv Sena MLA from nearby Rajapur, Rajan Salvi, also criticised the government during the meeting, for going ahead with the project despite opposition of locals. He submitted a letter to Chavan on this issue.

Dr Milind Desai from Mitgavane village lashed out at the government by saying it was "shameless".

Both Salvi and Desai were stopped midway by the state Industries Minister Narayan Rane, in Chavan`s presence, and as a result, both left the dais.

Earlier, before the Chief Minister arrived, police asked activist Vaishali Patil of Konkan Vinashkari Prakalpa Vidrohi Samiti to leave the place. They also asked those gathered to remove the black badges they were wearing.

However, some locals said that if Patil was forced to leave, they too would not stay. Patil stayed through the meeting.

Rane later told Chavan about the presence of "outsiders" at the meeting, to which the Chief Minister said he had come to meet locals and not the outsiders.

PTI