Angry protests mark public hearing at Jaitapur nuclear project site

Angry protests by villagers marked the opening of a public hearing of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) at Madban village in Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra on Sunday.

The villagers were protesting the non-receipt of copies of the environmental impact assessment (EIA). The meeting was allowed to proceed only on acknowledgement of the lapse by the officials and on assurances that it would be provided to the concerned parties.

Copies of the EIA summary in English were provided only to the Madban gram panchayat on 29 April with a full copy in Marathi provided four days ahead of the public hearing.

The other three villages that had to give land for the project – Karel, Niveli and Mithgavhne did not receive the EIA report.

According to Pravin Gavhankar of Madban village, with the majority of the people not being provided the EIA report, the public hearing was a sham and needed to be scrapped. He was speaking at the hearing chaired by the collector with the panel in attendance.

The planned project is being strongly opposed by people whose lands were acquired under protest with around 2,300 people losing land to the project for which 938.026 hectares has been acquired. Most affected people have not accepted the compensation cheques and the hearing saw black flags being waved and slogans being shouted as the protestors marched to the hearing venue at the project site.