Fellow countrymen and women,
Most of us come to Mumbai from various provinces in our country, from various villages, towns and even cities to work for our living. But the attraction of our native place never diminishes. Whenever any danger threatens our village, we feel its heat even from so far away. And that is why our hearts resonate in sympathy with the agony of the residents of Konkan.

Natives of Konkan,
We workers from Konkan go back to Konkan at festival time or whenever we get an opportunity to do so. The soil of our land and its greenery exercise an enchanting pull that draws us there. After being invigorated by breathing the pure, fresh scented air and meeting our relatives and friends of Konkan we return to our work. Today our friends and relatives there, that soil, and that greenery, is in danger. It is not a natural danger that is threatening them, but the government which is bent on going ahead with its plans to set up a nuclear power project in Jaitapur, and more than 18 other power projects in Konkan.

The government is trying to forcefully implement the biggest nuclear power project in the world in Maadban, which is near Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district. This area is exceedingly earthquake prone. From 1995 to date it has experienced dozens of big earthquakes. Some of them even measured 5.8 on the Richter scale. Shivni, which is just 17 km from Maadban, experienced an earthquake in October 2009, which caused tremendous crevices in the earth and land mass sinking encompassing a few kilometers. After seeing the havoc created by the recent earthquake and resulting tsunami in the nuclear plant in Japan at Fukushima, this stand of the government is really infuriating. In short, if we let the government go ahead with its monstrous plans in Jaitapur, it would amount to pushing the entire Konkan region into the jaws of a volcano.

The hot water released by this project would decimate fishing in sea around the area. People who eat the fish caught in the region would suffer the consequences of nuclear radiation.

The entire region of a few hundred square kilometers would face the threat of radiation. All life forms – human, vegetation, trees, mango orchards – everything would be affected.

It is a generally accepted norm in the nuclear energy field that no human habitation should be there within a radius of 5 km from such plants. That is why the residential colony for those who would work in the plant is going to be built 15 km away. However, there are thousands of people staying within the 5 km radius. The government is giving false assurances to them and asking them not to worry.

Thousands of villagers and townspeople staying in the Jaitapur region have come to understand this. That is why they are rejecting the huge compensation of Rs.10 lakh per acre that the government is now trying to tempt them with. All the seven gram panchayats in the area have passed resolutions opposing the project and informed the government accordingly. Thousands of people – women and men, old and young are opposing the project. They have been facing lathis and even bullets. This struggle for survival has already claimed 3 martyrs. Now this project is facing tremendous opposition from all over the country.

Learn the Lessons from Tarapur!

Brothers and sisters,
Reject the propaganda of the government and greedy politicians who try to cover up the truth. The Tarapur Atomic Power Project is a mere 150 km from Mumbai and has been in operation for the last 45 years. Before that project was built the local people were also fed sweet assurances by the government. All these promises turned out to be false. Forget about getting good jobs. On the contrary, the people there lost their sources of livelihood as well as their land. The environment has been destroyed. The incidence of terrible diseases like cancer as well as birth defects multiplied. Life expectancy decreased. If there is a big accident there, then “Tarapur” (Star Town) will be converted to “Narkapur” (Hell Town). “The government fooled us. You, at least, don’t get fooled!” Today this is what the villagers say to those who go there.

Apart from Jaitapur, more than 18 other power projects are being proposed in Konkan. Who will be “developed” due to these – the residents of Konkan or someone else? If you want to understand that, again go to Tarapur. Even today, there is more than 8 hours of load shedding every day. People have to queue up to fill water. And they have to descend into deep pits to gather the trickle!
 

Statement of the Maharashtra Council of Lok Raj Sangathan, August 2011
 

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