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Posted on 09 August 2011
CURRENT AFFAIRS  
NUCLEAR PROTESTS

CPI(M) demands scrapping of Jaitapur nuclear project

Govt should be warned that they are experimenting with an untested technology in this project: Prakash Karat

Nikhil M Ghanekar
New Delhi

Photos: Soumik Mukherjee

CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat came down heavily on the Maharashtra government and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for forcing the 10,000 MW Jaitapur nuclear plant down people’s throat.

On August 9, Nagasaki Day, project affected villagers demanded the scrapping of the plant staging a protest in the city under the banner of Janhit Sewa Samiti.

The anti-nuclear plant movement in Jaitapur which is essentially driven and spearheaded by the locals was supported by Shiv Sena, CPI(M), CPI and the Republican Party of India (RPI).

Criticising the methods of the Maharashtra government and the UPA government’s stubbornness to set up the plant, Karat said, “This is a people’s movement. The plant will harm the livelihoods of the people of Jaitapur. The Maharashtra government has used repressive tactics, jailed people and harassed them. The government should be warned that they are experimenting with an untested technology in this project.”

Speaking on the controversial Atomic Energy Act, he said “We will not let the government pass the proposed amendment in the Act.”

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The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) had proposed an amendment in the Act, 1962. If passed, the amendment will enable the government to procure land around all nuclear establishments by issuing a simple notification.

When asked whether the CPI(M) and Shiv Sena plan to protest together in the future, Karat said, “This is not a political platform. Both (CPI(M) and the Shiv Sena) are supporting the people’s movement, so there is no question of having joint protests.”

Currently, labourers from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are building a boundary wall at the plant site. Raju Wadekar whose house is the nearest to the plant site says, “My son was beaten up in the April protests. Today, he does not fear the police at all.”

Pravin Gavankar of Janhit Sewa Samiti said, “It was about time that we knocked on the government’s door directly to voice our problems and oppose this destructive plant.”

Rajshree Mayekar, one of the protestors from Madban echoed Gavankar’s thought, “The women in the villages have been harassed enough. Many of us have been to jail more than once. We are tired of the police and the state government, hence we have come to Delhi to be heard.”

On Independence Day, a rally has been planned in Sakhari Nate village to reignite protests against the plant. Around 10,000 people are expected to attend the event.

Nikhil M Ghanekar is a Correspondent with Tehelka.com.
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Posted on 09 August 2011
 

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