A day before French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Mumbai, project affected locals opposing the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant, Ratnagiri — the country’s first international civil nuclear deal with France —reiterated their demand for scrapping the project.
In an open letter to Hollande, eight anti-nuclear organisations questioned the contradiction of French President’s political agenda of nuclear-free France vis-à-vis discussions on the Jaitapur plant with the Indian authorities.
“How do you justify this agreement with NPCIL [Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited] when politically you are committed to ending nuclear dependency back home? Lives of human beings, whether in France or in India, are the same, and they are both precious,” the letter read.
“The Jaitapur plant can’t be taken further unless and until the questions raised by fishworkers and other affected people are answered and the wider debates in the wake of a renewed anti-nuclear movement, post Fukushima, is settled, as the law of a democratic country requires,” the letter stated.
Even as the state government increased the compensation to Rs. 22.5 lakh per hectare this week, project affected locals said they are not wooed by the package.
“Our protests against the plant have never been for an increase in the compensation amount,” said Pravin Gavankar, president of Janhit Seva Samiti.
According to senior officials from NPCIL, 248 of the 2335 families have collected compensation cheques from the government’s treasury. “But those who have collected cheques live in other parts of the state and hence their livelihoods untouched by the project,” said social activist Vaishali Patil.