'Protests against Jaitapur plant will continue'

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 22:33 hrs

Mumbai: Ahead of French President Francois Hollande's visit to Mumbai, people from Jaitapur Thursday said they will continue to protest against the setting up of a nuclear plant in their area.

Hollande is scheduled to visit Mumbai Friday, where he will address industry captains and the media.

The French president and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday reiterated their commitment on the setting up the 9,900-MW plant, being built with the help of French company Areva.

Organisations opposing the project have written an open letter to Hollande.

"It is our unanimous decision to request you to avoid Jaitapur, and furthermore, not to make any agreement with the government of India.

"The Jaitapur project cannot take place unless and until the questions raised by the fish-workers and other affected people there are answered and the wide debates in the wake of a renewed anti-nuclear movement, post-Fukushima, is settled," the letter said.

Earlier this week, the Maharashtra government announced a revised compensation package for farmers for the acquisition of land near the proposed plant.

The government said the project-affected people will be paid a compensation of Rs.22.5 lakh per hectare instead of the earlier announcement of Rs.50,000-Rs.1.5 lakh.

However, farmers said their fight was not about money.

"Our fight was never about compensation rate. We do not want the project on our land," said Praveen Gavankar of Madban village and leader of Janhit Sewa Samiti, one of the organisations opposing the project.

"The revised package has been declared when the French president is visiting to review the progress of the project. We cannot allow development at the cost of destruction," he said.

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