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), in the backdrop of French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India, has met with serious opposition.
The farmers and fishermen fighting against the JNPP on Thursday rejected the increased compensation package declared by the government, calling it a “cruel joke.”
“Never in our struggle against the project in the last three years, had we asked for increased compensation. We are against the nuclear project and will not let it happen even if the compensation is increased further,” said Pravin Gavankar, president, Janhit Seva Samiti, a people’s body fighting against the proposed power plant.
“The corrupt government feels that villagers can be bought. We want to tell them that we do not want money and we do not want the project,” he said.
The government had on Tuesday approved increased compensation. 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. However, the government has made it clear that the increased compensation would be solely for the JNPP and not for any other project in the State.
The JNPP, to be set up by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), is a part of the India-France civilian nuclear cooperation. In 2010, prior to the visit of the then President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) had given environmental clearance to the project, with 35 conditions.
“The spineless Indian government seems hell-bent on satisfying the French government at any cost, rather than its own people. Every time those French officials visit India, our government makes announcements related to JNPP. It is the lowest level to which any government can fall,” said Satyajit Chavan, convener, Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti, an umbrella body of organisations opposing the JNPP.
The protesters have planned a march in Mumbai during the State Assembly session to be held next month.