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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Villagers snub Chavan

Dharmendra Jore, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 11, 2011
First Published: 02:02 IST(11/1/2011) | Last Updated: 02:03 IST(11/1/2011)

Project-affected people of the Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Ratnagiri district, around 370 km from Mumbai, will boycott chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s open house to discuss the troubled 9,900 mega watt project.

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The open house will be the CM’s effort of doing his homework before he travels to the project site in coming days. Chavan had assured in the legislative session last month that he would visit the project site to meet the agitating farmers.

On Sunday, Chavan, who was in New Delhi, had said that he would meet all the parties concerned on January 18 at Yashwantrao Chavan Centre in Mumbai.

Nuclear scientists, all political parties, leaders of protesting groups and social organisations will be invited for discussion.

Protests continued in the project area on Monday.

Activist leader Praveen Gavankar told Hindustan Times that the open house date clashed with the local festival, Bhagwatichi yatra (religious congregation of Goddess Bhagwati) in Madban village. “Since our entire tehsil takes participates in this festival, no local will travel to Mumbai on January 18,” said Gavankar from Madban.

“The government says it will complete the project at any cost. So, we will not mind even if they use the military against us. We will happily take their bullets.”

Gavankar added that around 2,500 students from 70 schools in the area did not attend classes in protest. “Schools will be closed on Tuesday as well. They will also not celebrate Republic Day.”

Sources in Chavan’s office said that the CM would visit the place only after studying the people’s sentiments.

A bureaucrat said that it would be unsafe for Chavan to travel in a huff because of the growing trouble over the 9,900 mega watt plant.

“People are agitated and some political parties, like the Shiv Sena, have added fuel to fire,” he said. “We will have to ensure law and order during the CM’s visit.”

But Gavankar said the CM was welcome to visit. “But then, we will decide the day for his visit because we need to gather experts who will represent our case because we are not trained in nuclear physics.”

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