An independent people’s tribunal will be held in the city this week to record the public’s views on the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant in Ratnagiri district.
Over three days, starting May 19, former chief justices AP Shah and SD Pandit will record the views of villagers, scientists, nuclear experts, social activists and environmentalists at St Xavier’s College.
The Lokshasan Andolan, organiser of the tribunal, has sent invites to 60 project proponents such as ministers and officials from the government, atomic energy department and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.
The tribunal will be held almost two months after the two judges were restrained from holding a public hearing, against the 9,900 MW project, in Mithgawane, one of the project-affected villages.
“We have been charged with not cooperating with the government on discussions about the plant. We have not met the government because they are biased and we will not get a chance to depose,” said justice (retired) PB Sawant. “Therefore, we decided on an independent commission which will accept and record both viewpoints. But no official has responded yet.”
The tribunal will examine both the viewpoints and the documents related to the issue. The report will be prepared in two months. Apart from the radiation and safety aspects of nuclear energy, the depositions will cover issues of land acquisition, alleged repression along with safety and viability of the proposed Jaitapur plant.
“In 2004, the government revoked an emergency clause and started the land acquisition process without listening to villagers’ grievances. We are now in 2011 and nothing has happened. What was the need then for an emergency clause,” said Vaishali Patil, social activist.
While the tribunal will be conducted over three days, there could be another session if more project-affected-people from other nuclear plants or experts want to put forth their viewpoints.
“If the report is pro-project, we will accept it. But we will decide our strategy on how to take the agitation forward,” said justice Sawant.