The Maharashtra government’s decision to give increased compensation to the Project-Affected People (PAP) of the proposed 9900-MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP) has successfully created split between the agitating villagers.

A group of leaders from Janhit Seva Samiti, a local body which opposed the JNPP for last seven years, on Friday announced that they will not protest against the project anymore. The group was led by Pravin Gavankar, who had spearheaded the anti-nuclear project movement among locals.

Industries Minister Narayan Rane, after meeting the group made it clear that the activists have softened their stand against the project and the work will move ahead soon. The group also submitted a letter to Mr. Rane which said that they are willing to accept the project.

As per the revised package, the PAP would now get Rs. 22.5 lakh per hectare instead of the earlier compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 4.5 lakh per hectare.

“We will not come out against the project on road in future. I fought in the past, but will not fight now,” said Mr. Gavankar, while speaking with reporters after his meeting in Ratnagiri. He refused to answer questions on his sudden u-turn from his earlier stand.

Meanwhile, the villagers and other organisations have made it clear that their opposition to the project will continue and they will not follow people, who have ‘breached their trust.’

Dr. Vivek Monteiro of Konkan Bachao Samiti made it clear that the decision taken by certain group of people is their individual decision. “The movement will continue to oppose the project on technical and scientific terms,” he said adding that none of the other activists were taken into confidence before meeting Mr. Rane.

“He was in the forefront, because we supported him. He has backstabbed us, but we will continue our fight,” said Raja Kajve, a resident of Madban, one of the villages to be affected by the project. Shiv Sena MLA Rajan Salvi too has made it clear that his party will continue opposing the project.

By late evening, the five different organisations which have been opposing the project, issued a press release which said that the leaders met Mr. Rane in their personal capacity and not as their representatives. “The mass opposition to the project is based on sound scientific points will continue on various fronts with more rigour in the coming days, unaffected by this development,” said the release.