Jaitapur-affected to get annuity payments

NPCIL agrees to pay a compensation of Rs 25 lakh per hectare of land acquired

By Ashwin Aghor
Published: Thursday 01 September 2011

Even as residents of Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district continue to oppose the proposed nuclear power plant, the Maharashtra government is mulling the idea of revising the compensation to the families affected by it.

The revised plan comprises ex-gratia and annuity payments, and expenses for corporate social responsibility. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), setting up the plant in collaboration with a French firm Areva, has agreed to pay a compensation of Rs 25 lakh per hectare each to the families for 938 hectares of land. The package is expected to be in the range of Rs 400-600 crore.

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“The compensation for the land will be paid in parts to ensure that people get assured annual income. We are currently formulating the mode of payment,” says Shashikant Dharne, associate director of NPCIL. Half of the compensation amount will be deposited in the bank accounts of the people so that they get a fixed annual income from the interest on the deposits, he adds. The corporation is likely to pay annuity of Rs 2,000 per month to each family for the next two decades. The annuity will be revised every three years, sources say.

Apart from the package, NPCIL will also train people to work at the plant. Those unwilling to undergo training and work at the plant will be paid a onetime settlement amount of Rs 5 lakh, sources add.

This is for the first time in history of power and infrastructure projects that annuity clause is being considered. The state cabinet is likely to approve NPCIL’s revised resettlement and rehabilitation plan soon.

“NPCIL will earmark Rs 2 crore each for setting up infrastructure in four project-affected villages. The amount will be increased by 10 per cent every three years. Members of the project-affected families will be provided training to start their own business,” Dharne says. The Corporation will also provide facilities like building jetty, cold storage, dredging and satellite guidance for fishermen, he says.

But the Konkan Vinashkari Prakalpa Virodhi Samiti, which is opposing the project, has dismissed the package. “We are against the project itself. There is no question of compensation whether it is increased or not. We will not accept it at any cost. Our main contention is that the nuclear power is not required at all. Protest against the project will continue in future as well,” says Vaishali Patil, convener of the Samiti.

So far, two reactors with capacity of 1,650 MW have been commissioned in the first phase of the nuclear power plant. “The entire power plant would be commissioned in three such phases–two reactors each with the capacity of 1,650 MW,” Dharne says.

No safety threat

To allay fears that arose after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan, the corporation says it has undertaken strong safety measures. “We have adopted location based quake-proof measures. These take into consideration the geological conditions and ground acceleration,” says Dharne. The plant will be designed as per the needs of the area, he adds.

Elaborating on the safety mechanism with regard to automatic shutdown in case of emergency, Dharne says, “The safety mechanism at the plant is divided into two parts. One is immediate shutdown and the other is long-term cooling for indefinite period.” Unlike Fukushima, the generators supplying power to safety and cooling mechanism are placed at four corners of the plant. If one fails, others continue to work, he adds.

NPCIL has also adopted additional safety systems independent of each other, known as redundant systems--each system is independent of each other. “There is diversity in the safety systems. We have safety mechanism based on electricity, air pressure, hydraulic pressure and gravitational force,” says Dharne. In addition to these, Fail Safe System which ensures safe failure in case of emergency will also be in place to ensure complete safety of the plant as well as the people living in the surrounding areas,” he adds.

There will also be minimum risk to the plant in case of a terror attack. “The outer walls of the reactor will be missile and external explosion proof,” Dharne says.

He notes that NPCIL has all the expertise to set up and run nuclear power plants. “There is no need to import the entire equipment required for the plant. Only the nuclear island will be supplied by Areva and rest of the equipment will be made in India,” Dharne says.

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