The silence in Chutka after the brutal charade of consent-taking from local communities for the official environmental impact assessment last year has been broken by a thundering ‘no’ by the local tribal (adivasi) people once again when they gathered for a protest meeting earlier this week. People walked for kilometers from the nearby villagers in scorching heat to assemble at the Chutka village where activists like Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Aandolan, Kumar Sundaram of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace(CNDP), independent expert like Dr. Saumya Dutta and leaders of local political outfits like the Gondwana Ganatantra Party had joined to express their solidarity.
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. has proposed to establish Nuclear Power Plant of 700×2 = 1400 megawatt capacity in Chutka, Tatighat and Kunda Villages of the Mandala District falling within Fifth Scheduled Area of the Constitution of India. These villages are located on the bank of Bargi Dam built on River Narmada. The area is highly sensitive seismic zone as per the govt. records. Gram Sabhas of the villages have opposed establishment of the plant and tribal’s of the area are constantly agitating against acquisition of land for the project on the pretext that they were first displaced by Bargi Dam and now the govt. is displacing them again for the so called development.
The plant will swallow 7 crore 25 lakh 76 thousand cubic meter water every year from the reservoir which will be reduced from the total flow of water in the Narmada River. The water thrown from the plant will be radioactive and thus pollute the reservoir as experienced in Rawatbhata Nuclear Power Plant. The NPCIL has prohibited fishing around 12 km. radius of the plant in Rawatbhata.
The radioactive and polluted water of the reservoir will also cause cancer and create serious health problems to the people living in and around the towns and villages of the downstream of Narmada River. Resident of Jabalpur city are opposing the project because they depend on the Narmada River water for their survival.
The tehsildar of Narayanganj has unlawfully directed the Gram Sabhas of Patha, Kunda and Manegaon to pass a resolution for change in the land use of the area from agriculture to wasteland to facilitate land acquisition.
MP Pollution Control Board did not consider the objections filled and protests of the villagers and tribals during hearing on the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report and gave clearance to the project unlawfully.
Many people’s organization have been protesting and campaigning in solidarity with the tribals for last three years. They have raised questions against the project on the basis of experiences of Japan and Russia who have suffered a lot due to accident in the nuclear plants in their countries.
Chutka Sangharsh Sammittee organized this public meeting in protest of the illegal actions of the govt. to proceed for acquiring the land and imposing the project on them against their wishes in the name of development.
Dr. Soumya Dutta and Kumar Sundaram also addressed a press conference in Jabalpur later highlighting the risks of the nuclear power project and the resilience of the local people’s agitation against it.