Demand was never about hike in compensation: Jaitapur activists

The chief minister’s office,in its letter,has also asked the DAE to give a timeline for the project.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: April 8, 2014 3:30 pm

Even as the state has written to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),saying the land acquisition process is going on smoothly and that the land owners or project-affected persons of the Jaitapur nuclear plant are agreeable to the new compensation package offered,anti-Jaitapur activists reiterated on Monday that they want the project scrapped and their demand was never about a hike in the compensation. The chief minister’s office,in its letter,has also asked the DAE to give a timeline for the project.

“The chief minister’s office has written to us saying that progress has been made with the Jaitapur locals and the state government wishes to know the status of the project and the future roadmap. Discussions are on between Areva and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL),particularly with regard to the techno-commercial offer. I am going to Vienna this month for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) general conference,where I may get an opportunity to speak with the chief of the CEA (French atomic energy commission). I am hopeful of some convergence,particularly in the area of liability issue,” said R K Sinha,Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman and DAE secretary.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the golden jubilee celebrations of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre’s Radiation Medicine Centre (RMC). Three facilities at RMC — an additional radionuclide therapy ward with six-bedded capacity for treatment of thyroid cancer,PET-CT (scanner) and camera for iodine-131 based imaging facility — were inaugurated on Monday.

The Maharashtra government had earlier this year approved an enhanced compensation of around Rs 22 lakh per hectare for land acquired for the Jaitapur project. Recently,a group led by Pravin Gavankar,founder of Janhit Seva Samiti (JSS),a local body that spearheaded the anti-nuclear project movement,met industries minister Narayan Rane. The group said they are willing to accept the project and will not protest against it.

JSS members,however,told the media on Monday that their agitation will continue and intensify from October 13. They said the people of Madban,Jaitapur and Sakhari Nate and other project-affected villages were neither involved nor consulted regarding this development at any point.

“Some individual members of JSS and others met the industries minister recently and submitted a letter saying they are willing to accept the Jaitapur project. We wish to clarify that JSS is not party to this decision. Gavankar did not consult us before meeting Rane. We have no idea why he has taken this stand and under whose pressure. The mass opposition to the project will continue on various fronts with more rigour in the coming days,unaffected by this development. From farmers to fishermen,everyone is opposed to the project and we have the backing of Shiv Sena,” said Shyamsundar Narvekar,JSS secretary.

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