Almost seven years on and crores of rupees changing hands, the Bombay high court on Thursday expressed discontent over the fact that the project-affected persons of the Tarapur Nuclear Power Plant are yet to get basic amenities such as water and electricity.
A division bench of justice Ranjana Desai and justice Ranjit More was hearing a petition filed by Tarapur Anushakti Prakalp Pidit Janata Samiti, a body representing families displaced for expansion of the nuclear power plant seeking proper rehabilitation of the displaced families.
“Water is the least you should have given them immediately,” justice Desai said.
Assistant government pleader Nitin Deshpande said that the water pipelines have been laid to a certain extent and beyond that it was the responsibility of the gram panchayat.
“You must give water to your people,” justice Desai retorted. The judges also added that the NPCIL too should provide funds, if required. “Don’t tell us you don’t have money. We don’t want to say anything that will come as newspaper headlines tomorrow. But if it is necessary, someday we might have to do it,” justice Desai told the government.
While the state government is apprehending the need for more funds, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) submitted that whatever money was required have been paid to the state, the implementing agent concerning the compensation and rehabilitation process of 1,260 families from two villages.
Counsel for NPCL, Rajiv Kumar, submitted that whatever the state government has asked the corporation has done it. The figures submitted before the court shows that over Rs 80 crores have been paid by the nuclear corporation for rehabilitating the affected villagers.
Petitioners’ counsel Rajiv Patil and BJP leader Ram Naik, who has intervened in the matter, pointed out that the villagers were even charged Rs 750 for water connections.