Shemoli Giri may not understand a word of either Hindi or Marathi, but she echoes the sentiments of villagers opposing the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant in Ratnagiri district. Her one-acre plot in her village in Haripur, West Bengal, is among 700 other villages marked for a nuclear plant to be built using Russian technology.
On Saturday, Giri along with justice (retired) PB Sawant and justice BG Kolse Patil, admiral (retired) L Ramdas, social activist Vaishali Patil and 128 other anti-nuclear voices were detained for trying to start a road yatra from Tarapur to Jaitapur to garner support against the plant. They were released in an hour after their details were taken down but were detained at Boisar police station. They were finally released some time later.
“How can we earn and feed our children if our land is taken away from us,” Giri said. The yatra’s next stop is Thane followed by Tara. There are more hiccups likely as they will not be allowed into Ratnagiri district.
“We have already issued prohibitory orders. So, the yatra cannot enter the district,” said MB Gaikwad, district collector, Ratnagiri. But Patil said, “We will carry on the yatra and reach Jaitapur.” On Saturday, when the Boisar police tried to stop them, they refused to cooperate. Finally, they agreed to go to the police station. “They were detained for illegal assembly and released after their details were taken down,” said Chandrakant Pawaskar, additional superintendent of police, Thane Rural.
Starting from Tarapur which houses the country's oldest reactors, the three-day yatra will go through Thane, Pen, Chiplun and culminate at Madban, the site of the Jaitapur project, on April 25.
Admiral (retired) Ramdas said, “We need to invest in solar energy because its prices are decreasing while that of nuclear energy are on the rise.”