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'State terrorism prevails in Jaitapur'

Last updated on: March 21, 2011 21:47 IST

'State terrorism prevails in Jaitapur'

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Retired justices B G Kolse Patil and P B Sawant of the Lokshasan Andolan are in no mood to withdraw their agitation until the Jaitapur nuclear power plant is abandoned despite the state government's reign of terror against the locals, reports Prasanna Zore.

On being denied entry into Ratnagiri by the district administration, the two retired judges said they would not withdraw their agitation till the Jaitapur nuclear power plant is abandoned.

The Lokshasan Andolan is one of the many umbrella organisations spearheading the opposition to setting up a 9,800 MW nuclear power plant in Jaitapur in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district by the French company Areva.

Addressing media-persons on Monday to highlight the reign of terror let loose in Jaitapur by the state government, in order to stave off the popular agitation by the locals, Kolse Patil said, "The state government is employing terrorist means to stave off our agitation. They are spreading a reign of government terror in Jaitapur."

The chief minister and his ministers are directly and indirectly encouraging the prevailing lawlessness, he added.


Image: A protest march against the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Mumbai
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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'The arrogance of power is blinding the ruling establishment'

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Kolse Patil said a regional officer, Ajit Pawar (not the state deputy chief minister), in Ratnagiri is threatening the project-affected people with dire consequences. "He is telling them that the government has given him orders to shoot anybody who refuses to accept compensation cheques in lieu of their land," Kolse Patil said, referring to a news item published by a local daily Lokmat.

Sawant said the government has scant regard for the peaceful agitation being carried out against the Jaitapur nuclear power plant. "The arrogance of power is blinding the ruling establishment," he said.

Sawant, however, warned that the people's patience is running out as the government employs one draconian measure after another to hamper their agitation. He said despite such provocations, they have been restraining the people from resorting to violent means and will continue to fight against this repression in a Gandhian way.

"But the State repression must stop immediately. If it continues, people may take the law into their own hands," he said.

Image: The march started from Lower Parel station and continued till Ambedkar Maidan
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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'There is a limit to how much the people of Jaitapur can bear'

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Drawing the state government's attention to what is happening in the Arab world, Sawant said, "The government should know what happens when the government acts against the will of the people."

The two retired judges said they will be knocking the doors of the courts to lift the prohibitory orders imposed on them by the district administration in Ratnagiri.

"If the court also fails us we will have to think of a way that will include people's wishes. There is a limit to how much the people of Jaitapur can bear," Sawant said.

Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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'India can become a power-surplus country'

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Earlier, Kolse Patil said the government was neglecting alternate sources of energy.

Making his case for clean, cheap and renewable sources of energy, Kolse Patil said as per the government figures two lakh MW of power can be produced by small hydro-electric power projects, 46,000 MW from wind energy, 16,000 MW from agricultural waste, 5,000 MW from sugarcane waste -- apart from the immense potential of solar energy to narrow the power deficit in India.

"It's a moot question then as to why the government is neglecting this aspect of development and progress," he said.
He also made the case for plugging power leakages during transmission and distribution of power and claimed that it itself can make India a power-surplus country.

"Forty per cent of India's generated power is wasted in transmission and distribution. Even if we reduce these losses by 20 per cent we will become power-surplus," he added.

The international figure for such losses is five to 10 per cent, he added.


Image: Hundreds of people from all sections of society participated in the protest march
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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'Government-sponsored scientists misleading India'

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Justice Sawant said vested interests are involved in bringing the Jaitapur nuclear power plant to fruition. "Otherwise there is no reason why the government is not encouraging plugging the leakages and looking at hydro power through small dams that comes as cheap as Re 0.20 per unit."

The duo also highlighted the fact that even if the life of a nuclear reactor is just 40 years, the waste that it produces during its operations remains active for 2.4 lakh years. "No country has an effective mechanism to safely dispose of radioactive waste, and extending the life of nuclear reactors beyond 40 years is fraught with grave consequences to the environment and the people," Sawant said.

While claiming that the nuclear establishment in India is trying to stymie the flow of information from Japan, which is passing through one of the worst nuclear power disasters, Kolse Patil said "government-sponsored scientists" are systematically misleading the nation.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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