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Ratnagiri (Maharashtra): Thousands of villagers on Wednesday launched a 'jail bharo' agitation demanding scrapping of the proposed 9,900-MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) coming up here, an activist said.
Nearly 5,000 residents from neighbouring villages and fishing hamlets started a peaceful march to the JNPP site, some 400 km from Mumbai, where they proposed to court arrest.
Police beefed up security and clamped prohibitory orders to stop the protestors, said Vaishali Patil, one of the key activists in the anti-JNPP agitation, who is facing externment proceedings for her opposition to the project.
Led by the Machhimar Kruti Samiti and other organisations, the protestors carried banners and placards and raised anti-nuclear plant slogans. The protest was led by Amjad Borkar, Mansur Solkar and Shiv Sena legislator Rajan Salvi.
"They will march up to Sonargarga, the entry point for JNPP where the police have set up barricades. We expect the villagers to be arrested at this point," Patil told IANS.
She said the villagers of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts are strongly opposed to the JNPP.
Patil pointed out that the recent tender notification issued by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. was an indicator that the government wanted to go ahead with the JNPP ignoring the opposition by the local population.
"Through this agitation, the villagers are reiterating their demand to cancel all agreements for the JNPP. If the government does not heed the people's sentiments, then they will not allow the project to come up," she added.
Villagers from Madhban-Mithgavane, Sakhrinate, Adiware, Dhaulwali, Dhartale and other hamlets were taking part in the march Wednesday despite prohibitory orders clamped by the local police to deter them.