Trouble is once again brewing in Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district. Local residents opposing the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant met the district collector earlier this week demanding that the ongoing work at the plant site in Madban be stopped.
“We made a representation to the collector asking him to direct a stop-work notice on the construction of the boundary wall. Workers are also digging a borewell, which is a violation of the conditions set during the environmental clearance for the project,” said Amjad Borkar who is spearheading the protest by the local fishing community.
Work on building the boundary wall restarted in mid-May under heavy police protection, a month after violent protests on the plant site forced workers to flee.
“We have given the collector 15 days to stop the work. If that doesn’t happen, we will be forced to carry out a demonstration. We are yet to decide our strategy,” said Pravin Gavankar, Madban resident.
On April 18, 300 locals led by Shiv Sena MLA Rajan Salvi had burned machinery, electronic material and dry grass on the plateau following which police resorted to lathicharge. Subsequently, violent protests also broke out in the neighbouring fishing community of Sakhri Nate where Tabrez Sayekar, 30, was killed in police firing.
Collector MB Gaikwad was not available for comment.
But confirming that villagers had put forth a stop-work demand, an official from the collector’s office requesting anonymity said, “Since it is a central government project, we cannot issue orders to stop work. Work will continue.”