People protesting the proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur, Maharashtra, close to their villages, on Monday made public a letter written to French and European bankers. The letter was released two days before negotiations at Paris between Indian nuclear bureaucrats, the French nuclear company Areva, international financiers and bankers to facilitate a soft loan for the project planned as the largest nuclear power project in the world. The 9,900 mega watt (MW) plant, is to be set up at Madban village in Ratnagiri. Residents are opposing it, saying it will destroy 938 hectare (ha) of eco-sensitive land with creeks and mangrove.
According to reports, senior officers of the Department of Atomic Energy and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) will attend a meeting on June 5 and 6.
| Local people's fears
The letter cites the hazards of nuclear energy as the reason for opposition to the project. “We will never allow anybody to contaminate our ancestral land, seas, marine and land environment of this Konkan coast with nuclear energy. It has a dangerous fallout of ionizing radioactivity. We are prepared to embrace even death if the situation so warrants.”
The letter states that residents are aware about the meeting, which has not been made public by any of the parties involved. “We, the people of Jaitapur, Madban, Sakhari Nate, Mithgavane, Niveli, Karel and all the surrounding villages near the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project, are writing with a deep sense of anguish and disgust about the developments taking place in Paris on June 5 and 6 between NPCIL, acting through Government of India, French company Areva, and various French as well as European bankers. We...are given to know that NPCIL and Government of India officials will negotiate with the French as well as European bankers the loan terms for financing the proposed (project),” the letter states.
It adds that “to assuage serious concerns of bankers as well as French company Areva about our staunch and fierce opposition to the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project, NPCIL and the Government of India officials are making wrong representations, concealing ground information, twisting and distorting the facts and trying their level best to delude you in order to make you agree and secure loan finance for this mega disaster project.”
The letter states that mass resistance against the mega project is extending to Konkan. “To put ground realities and facts in clear perspective, we, the fishermen and farmers of Jaitapur and adjoining areas, want to make it very clear that our diehard opposition to the project is total.”
Premanand Tivarkar, resident of Madban, said the people are planning protests against the Paris meeting at the collector’s office and in the village on June 5 and 6. Bhikaji Wagdhare, sarpanch of Madban, said that people of the village will hold a march to protest NPCIL’s attempt to push the project.
Facts about Jaitapur nuclear power plant
Press statement on meeting to review status of Jaitapur nuclear power project and safety concerns
Letter on environmental clearance for Jaitapur Nuclear Power dated Dec 23, 2010 sent to Jairam Ramesh by Shankar Sharma, Power Policy Analyst
NPCIL Jaitapur Power project
Environmental impact assessment for proposed nuclear power park at Jaitapur, District Ratnagiri, Maharashtra
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