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mithivirdi

The Centre has told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that the 6,000 MW nuclear power plant proposed at Mithivirdi in Gujarat will be shifted to Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh due to delay in land acquisition for the project.

After the Centre’s submission, the NGT bench, consisting of judicial member U D Salvi and expert member Ranjan Chatterjee, disposed of a petition filed by a group of villagers of Mithivirdi and Jaspara and NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti.

The petitioners had challenged the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance given to the project by the Gujarat State Coastal Zone Management Authority on March 3, 2015.

The villagers in Mithivirdi – Jaspara are coming together on 2nd of June in Jaspara to celebrate and congratulate each other after the NGT (Pune Bench) pronounced its order, that the Appeal 23 0f 2015 filed by villagers challenging the CRZ clearance dated 3-3-2015 granted to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, for its proposed 6000 MW Nuclear Power Plant of AP1000 make of Toshiba – WestingHouse, USA to be imported.

The MOEF&CC Director, Shri Arvind Kumar Nautiyal submitted in person to the NGT bench on 18th May – “that the project at Mithivirdi, District Bhavnagar, Gujarat of NPCIL, in whose favour CRZ Clearance in question was granted, is to be shifted to Kovadda, Andhra Pradesh on account of delay in land acquisition at village Chhaya- Mithivirdi site. She (The counsel for MOEF&CC) placed on record a copy of the letter dated 27th March, 2017 addressed by the Scientist-F to Scientist Mr. A.R. Anilkumar, Executive Director, NPCIL in support of her submissions. She further submitted that in view of shifting of the said project the proposal for Environment Clearance (EC) before MoEF has been delisted.”

Four years back on 5-3-2013, about 7000 villagers had staged a walk-out from the Environmental Public Hearing (EPH) which was being conducted in blatant contravention of the Environmental laws and Natural Justice. The villagers who were seldom heard by the authorities had an opportunity to express themselves.
Teams of villagers including women were actively preparing themselves for past fortnight. There were small group meetings held in surrounding 30 villages to explain to them the impacts of NPP and importance to participate in the EPH. The authorities who were supposed to do this exercise were not even bothered to supply information regarding the project.

And then thousands of ‘illiterate’ villagers lined up to enter into the EPH pandal. They were frisked. Water bottles were not allowed inside. Tiffins were checked. Metal detectors were active and there was intimidating and huge presence of security and police everywhere. But the villagers were unrelenting.

The then Collector of Bhavnagar who was chairing the EPH disallowed the leaders and sarpanchs of villages from raising issues relating to procedure. Thus it was indicated in clear terms by the authorities that they had no interest in conducting the EPH according to the norms and were only illegally and blatantly favouring NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.) and left with no choice, to protest the high handed means of the authorities a walk-out was declared by the community leaders. Within few minutes people started walking out without any slogans or hangama. The pandal was emptied and only media personnels, government and gpcb officials and the NPCIL staff was left in a huge pandal.

Subsequently the proposed project was recommended CRZ clearance by Gujarat State Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) and State Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) cleared the CRZ on 3-3-2015. This was challenged in NGT – Pune vide Appeal No. 23/2015 by a team of villagers – Shaktisinh H. Gohil & Jagrutiben B. Gohil of Jaspara village, Hajabhai G. Dihora of MithVirdi and Rohit Prajapati & Krishnakant Chauhan of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti.

The petition was opposed vehemently by the respondents even at the stage of admission, but later it was dragged and unnecessarily delayed, due to which the NGT issued cost of 10,000 each to MOEF&CC and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB).

The persistent and democratic – nonviolent efforts of the villagers were positively reflected in the NGT judgement, where in the MOEF&CC placed on record that NPCIL had in fact through a letter dated 27-3-2017 intimated the MOEF&CC that the proposed WestingHouse Nuclear Power Plant of 6000 MW is being shifted from MithiVirdi due to delay in Land Acquisition.

Thousands of villagers from MithiVirdi – Jaspara who have consistently braved the pressures, coercion, extra-legal tactics of NPCIL and District administration have moved from the slogan ‘Not Here’ since 2007 to ‘Not Here, Not Anywhere; Not in Any Country in the World’. The resistance of the villagers was never for compensation rather they were seeking answers from the non-transparent and secretive Nuclear establishment.

It is note worthy that the resistance against the Nuclear ‘Holy Cow’ has remained non-violent and democratic inspite of provocations and high-handed extra legal tactics of the NPCIL and local administration.

Shaktisinh Gohil Jagrutiben Bhagirathsinh Gohil Hajabhai Dihora

Bhavnagar Jilla Gram Bachao Samiti

Rohit Prajapati Krishnakant Chauhan Swati Desai
Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti.

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    Gujarat people have succeeded in pressurizing government in stopping nuclear plant construction. Similarly, AP activists should build up mass movements to stop the shifting of the plant. A nation – wide co- ordination committee should be formed to make people all over the country aware of the hazards of establishing nuclear plants in the country