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Farmers’ bid to `re-capture` Jaitapur lands foiled

Nearly 3,000 farmers and fishermen on Wednesday made an unsuccessful attempt to "recapture" their farms and other lands.

Ratnagiri (Maharashtra): Nearly 3,000 farmers and fishermen on Wednesday made an unsuccessful attempt to "recapture" their farms and other lands, which have been acquired for the proposed 9,900-MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) coming up here, police said.

The security forces, deployed in huge numbers around the JNPP complex, detained the marchers at various points before they could reach the site and arrested 22 activists, including local Shiv Sena legislator Rajan Salvi among anti-JNPP agitation leaders.

"The situation is under control, we have deployed adequate security and there has been no untoward incident," an official of Ratnagiri Police Control Room said.

The farmers and fishermen on Wednesday morning started marching from 10 surrounding villages to the JNPP complex in an effort to "recapture" their lands taken over for the nuclear project.

"They wanted to go back to their lands and start sowing rice as the monsoon has just begun," Pradeep Indulkar, an office-bearer of Konkan Anti-Nuclear Power Project Committee, said.

The marchers were detained on the roads or inside their villages and not allowed to march toward the JNPP site.

Nearly 100 villagers and activists were detained or arrested by the security forces, claimed Indulkar.

The authorities have acquired around 730 hectares of land for the nuclear power project and another 250 hectares will be acquired for constructing residential and public amenities for the staff which will live and work at the project site.

According to Indulkar, the authorities have constructed a long boundary wall, measuring nearly 40 km on three sides (the fourth side is the Arabian Sea) to protect the JNPP site.

Another prominent activist, Vaishali Patil, described the situation as "tense" with nearly 1,000 security personnel deployed and ban on any gathering of five or more people under the prohibitory orders implemented in the region.

"People along with their cattle and goats are peacefully sitting in `dharna` (sit in) in their respective villages and there has been no violence of any kind. I was not allowed to enter the region by the police," Patil said.