Haripur is on the boil again. The locals have threatened both the Centre and the state government of dire consequences if the proposed nuclear power project is not scrapped immediately.
“We don’t want another Nandigram or Singur. It’s our request to the Centre and the state government to scrap the project,” said Debashis Shyamal, leader of Haripur Paramanu Bidyut Prakalpa Pratirodh Andolan (Haripur Nuclear Power Plant Resistance Movement or HNPPRM).
Fresh tension was triggered in this fishing hamlet on the Bay of Bengal, about 215 km to the south west of Kolkata, after Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh informed in Kolkata on Wednesday about his ministry’s clearance of the project.
HNPPRM is an umbrella organisation of various local fishing bodies and around 48 fish landing centres under Dakshin Banga Matsajibi Samiti (South Bengal Fishermen's Samiti or DBMS). The National Fish-workers’ Forum (NFF) has also thrown their weight behind this movement.
Trinamool Congress, second biggest partner of the United Progressive Alliance government, too, is opposed to the project. Haripur has both a Trinamool MLA and a Trinamool MP.
“The UPA Government, its allies and the Left Front government will pay a heavy price for this fraud on the people of Haripur,” said Shyamal, NFF executive committee member and himself a Haripur local.
Shyamal said, they would demand the documents involved in giving this clearance to the project. Leaders from HNPPRM, NFF and DBMS leaders are presently in New Delhi to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister, the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders.
“Nobody knows how the project got the environment clearance. How could the environment ministry give it a go ahead without conducting ground level survey,” Shyamal said.
The resistance leader said their movement would “try to follow a non-violent path.” But he refused to comment on their course of action if their methods failed to get desired results.
“The people will respond as the situation unfolds If the administration wants to play Holi with the blood of common people, we won’t have much to do,” Shyamal said.
In a press statement on Thursday, NFF acting chairman Matanhy Saldanha stated that the Forum has joined hands with HNPPRM in “condemning and challenging” the environment ministry’s decision to clear the nuclear plant.
“This goes against the spirit of consulting the affected locals. No public hearing was held at the site,” Saldanha said.