Even as preparations were underway on Friday evening to make a helipad for chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s visit to Madban, the site of the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant in Ratnagiri district, project-affected villagers already have their speeches ready for the public meeting.
On Saturday, Chavan will address 2,000 locals at Maneshwar Temple in Karel, a village affected by the proposed nuclear power plant, in a last ditch effort to convince villagers opposing the 9,900 megawatt plant. Villagers have been given 30 minutes to voice their concerns.
Unlike the open house held in Mumbai last month, which was boycotted by the villagers, locals have decided to attend the meeting on Saturday and submit a memorandum.
“We will tell the chief minister what we’ve been saying all these years. We don’t want the power plant,” said Pravin Gavankar, who is among three locals putting forth their firm objections.
On Friday, the usually quiet road leading to Madban had Congress flags fluttering and police constables patrolling the stretch.
Police authorities met about eight villagers informing them to stay clear from slogan shouting or carrying placards.
Autorickshaw drivers who have been carrying anti-nuclear stickers on their vehicles were also asked to take them off.
“It’s our constitutional right to protest. But we have to keep looking for democracy with a torch which also seems to have run away,” said Gavankar.
The chief minister’s visit also got prohibitory orders slapped on villagers temporarily lifted.
The nuclear plant to be constructed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited will house six light water reactors imported from French company Areva.