Ratnagiri (Maharashtra), Jan 10 (IANS) About 70 schools in and around Madhban village, where the Jaitapur nuclear power plant is coming up, will remain closed for two days as part of protests against the project, an activist said here Monday.
'From kindergarten to high schools, around 70 schools with nearly 2,500 students will remain shut Monday and Tuesday in 20 villages, including Madhban, Mithgawane, Karel, Niweli and Ansure that are the most affected,' said Praveen Gavankar, an activist leading the agitation.
Gavankar said land for the project in Madhban, about 60 km from here and 370 km from the state capital Mumbai, had been acquired through force and this was unacceptable.
'Hardly one percent of the farmers have been compensated and I say we don't even want to be compensated. We don't want to give up our land at all,' Gavankar said.
The Jaitapur nuclear power plant is a proposed 9,900 MW project of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) at Jaitapur, which was earlier an important port on the Konkan coast. The project will be spread across 968 hectares in five villages of the district.
Gavankar pointed out that at no stage had the government thought of hearing their side of the story. 'Now that they are being met with agitations every day, they make the police beat us up. What kind of justice is this,' he asked.
He added that no school in the area would celebrate Republic Day Jan 26.
'There will be no flag hoisting ceremony this Republic Day in any of the schools of the area. Moreover, we are also planning to take our agitation further as several schools of other villages have also agreed to shut down Wednesday and Thursday,' Gavankar said.
Gavankar also contended that the radiation from the power plant may affect the ancient Vijaydurg Fort, which is only five km from the project site. Jaitapur was once an important port of the region.
The Jaitapur project is coming up in collaboration with Areva, France.