People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXVII

No. 02

January 13, 2013

 

 

 

 

JAITAPUR, MAHARASHTRA

 

Jail Bharo at Nuclear Power Project Site

 

THE year 2013 began with a massive satyagraha and Jail Bharo  held at the Jaitapur nuclear power project site on January 2, 2013. The Jail Bharo was preceded by a seven kilometres long march from Sakhri Nate village to the Madban plateau in which several thousand residents participated. The march was led by Amjad Borkar and Mansoor Solkar. A notable feature was the participation of more than 1000 women as well as a large number of youth and students. The march was joined at the Jaitapur bridge by local MLA, Rajan Salvi, and Prakash Waghdare, the sarpanch of Madban gram panchayat. Narvekar  and Sarfoo Kazi of the Jan Hit Seva Samiti joined the march at the Madban plateau.

 

On behalf of the Maharashtra CITU, Vivek Monteiro, P M Vartak, Mahbood Ali, Sailesh Bhatkar, committee members of the Dabhol Veej Prakalp Kamgaar Sangh, Bharat Bhuvad, Shashikant Mahadik, Rajan Toraskar, Sampath Shinde and Ayre participated in the long march and the Jail Bharo.

 

Prakash Reddy and Advocate Prashant Haldankar from the CPI, and Madhu Mohite from the RPI also participated in the march and satyagraha.

 

Prohibitory order under Section 144 having been declared in the area, a large contingent of policemen blocked the rally after it reached the Madban plateau. The rallyists were then addressed by the leaders of various organisations and parties in a mass meeting.

 

Addressing the rally on behalf of the CPIndia (M) and CITU, Vivek Monteiro began by paying homage to the martyrs Irfan Kazi and Tabrez Sayekar. He stated that their sacrifice would not go in vain. He said the Fukushima disaster has confirmed that the scientific grounds on which we are opposing the Jaitapur nuclear power project are completely justified. The radioactive release at Fukushima came from the spent fuel accumulations there. He reiterated the assertion made at the public hearing at Madban in 2010 that if the Jaitapur project starts functioning, radioactive substances, more than thousands of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, would be accumulated in the spent fuel pools at Madban. This would create an unacceptable hazard not only for Madban but for the whole of Ratnagiri and Maharashtra.

 

Several new reasons have come up to oppose the project. The CITU made an RTI application in which it has been revealed that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has not yet granted a site clearance to the project. The CITUís RTI application to the Ministry of Environment and Forests has revealed that the conditions on which the partial clearance were given have not been complied with. The governmentís own Gadgil committee on the Western Ghats has also passed strictures against the project on environmental grounds. The costs of a similar project in France have recently risen to Rs 36 crore per megawatt. At this cost the project is not viable.

 

He congratulated the fisherpeople and the farmers of Ratnagiri for coming together, keeping aside all differences of caste and creed, to oppose the project. They have been joined today by the representatives of the workers and trade unions. This worker peasant unity is the foundation of a resolute struggle which will continue until the project is scrapped.

 

He stated that the decision to bring Areva to Madban was taken at the same time as the decision to bring Walmart into India. These both were part of the political decisions called the Indo- US nuclear agreement and agreement for strategic cooperation. Today lakhs of small traders are joining the struggle against the FDI in retail. Their struggle is also a part of our struggle.

 

The Left parties have consistently been fighting these issues from the outset both within and outside parliament. When Prakash Karat and D Raja visited Ratnagiri district in 2011 they emphasised that this struggle is not only a struggle of Ratnagiri, but of the whole of Maharashtra and India. The CITU and the CPI(M) are committed to take this struggle to a wider level for which we will be making sincere efforts in the coming days.

 

After the meeting more than 2000 persons peacefully courted arrest. They were transported in ST buses to the Nate Police station, from where they were later released.