After years of resistance from local farmers and environmental activists, the proposed 6,000 megawatt (Mw) nuclear power project
in Mithi Virdi, Gujarat, has been disallowed by the Union ministry of environment and forests, the latter formally confirmed.
The ministry’s counsel informed the National Green Tribunal
(NGT) that environmental clearance was not being given.
Westinghouse Electric, which was constructing the project, had shifted base to Andhra Pradesh last year, after facing issues of land acquisition in Gujarat.
“We are yet to go through the order to make a sense of the development. We will only be able to comment after that,” said Chimanbhai Saparia, minister of power, Government of Gujarat.
“The persistent and democratic non-violent efforts of the villagers were positively reflected in the NGT judgment, wherein the ministry placed on record that Nuclear Power Corporation of India
(NPCIL) had, in fact, through a letter dated March 27 intimated (it) that the proposed power plant is being shifted from Mithi Virdi
due to delay in land acquisition,” went a statement issued by the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, one of the petitioners in the case.
The other applicant was Bhavnagar Jilla Gram Bachao Samiti, representing local farmers. The matter dates back to 2013, when protests began at the project being planned at the site in Bhavnagar district. The plant was the first to be proposed after the Indian and American governments signed a civil nuclear agreement in 2008. NPCIL signed the construction agreement with Westinghouse in 2012.
After resistance from local population and hurdles in land acquisition, the proposed capacity was decided to be shifted to Andhra Pradesh in 2015. In 2016, the NGT told the Union of India and the ministry to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 each over delays in legal recourse.