In a major fillip to the upcoming Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP), the Maharashtra government Saturday announced a series of proposals for compensation and other demands of the local villagers who had been opposing the mega-project.
The most important issue - land compensation - will be settled and the compensation amounts disbursed by Oct 15, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said.
This would include enhanced compensation to those project affected people and others who come forward with their compensation demands, he said.
The country's biggest nuclear park and the world's largest in terms of net electrical power rating - the 9,900 MW JNPP - is coming up in Madhban-Jaitapur villages of the coastal Ratnagiri district, around 400 south of Mumbai.
Slated to cost around $10 billion, it is being constructed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) in collaboration with French company, Areva SA.
However, since the past more than three years, it has been facing massive opposition from the local villagers, several NGOs, and parties like Shiv Sena.
Chavan's announcement came after a meeting with a delegation of the Janhit Seva Samiti-Madhban, which had announced its withdrawal from the protests against JNPP a few days ago.
Besides the disbursal of the enhanced compensation amounts for the acquired lands from the villagers and fisherfolk, Chavan said that the state government would also consider withdrawing minor offences registered against the protestors, barring the serious ones.
"The issues of rehabilitation would also be taken care of and the opinion of the JSS-M would be taken into account for ensuring qualitative rehabilitation of the locals," Chavan added.
Till date, of the 2,236 project affected farmers, 312 account holders have been paid collectively Rs.50 crore as compensaion.
They will be given the balance amount of enhanced compensation besides others who come forward to claim their comepensation for which a special cell has been set up Ratnagiri, he said.
The state government will also set up a new port for the benefit of the fishing community which has apprehended a threat to their livelihood on account of the upcoming JNPP, Chavan further said.
In another step, Chavan noted there is a special unit at Lasalgaon in Nashik which processes and exports the famous Ratnagiri Alphonso mangoes to different countries in the world, and his government will set up a similar processing and export unit for Ratnagiri mangoes and fish in the district.
Besides Chavan, Industry Minister Narayan Rane, Ratnagiri's guardian minister Uday Samant, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Amitabh Rajan, Additional Secretary (Atomic Energy) C.B.S. Venkataraman and NPCIL chairman and managing director K.C. Purohit were present at the crucial meeting.