While the Centre gave its in-principle approval to the 2,800-MW nuclear power plant to be set up by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) in October 2009, the notification for land acquisition was issued in July 2010. This was followed by protests led by political parties, activists and others including former Army Chief General V K Singh, Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, L K Advani, Kuldeep Bishnoi, Bhajan Lal, Om Prakash Chautala and Justice (retired) Kolse Patil.
But since July 18 this year, when the state government announced a revised compensation package adding up to Rs 46 lakh per acre of land, over 90 per cent of the affected families are reported to have accepted the compensation, ending their two-year-long protest.
Some of the families living in the three affected villages have already bought plots of land in other villages and districts. Among them is Hans Raj Siwach, a resident of Gorakhpur who spearheaded the anti-nuclear plant protest for over two years. Having claimed the compensation and called off the agitation, he has purchased a plot of land in a village in Karnal district.
“We have accepted the compensation and even cooperated with the state government for survey of our land,” said Pawan Sharma, another Gorakhpur resident, who owns 12.5 acres.
Some said they had succumed to government pressure. “My husband Bhagu Ram died while sitting on a protest in December 2010. My son also died later. There is no other option for me but to accept the compensation amount. The government knows best what needs to be done for the future, but we have been forced to leave our roots,” said Sunehri Devi, also from Gorakhpur.
A few, however, continue to protest even after accepting the compensation packages. Like Bansi Lal, a resident of Kajalheri village who owns four acres of land. “I have accepted the compensation for my land, but the nuclear plant should not come up. It is not in the interest of people as it will cause various medical problems,” he said.
But Prahlad Singh Gilakhera, chief parliamentary secretary attached with the Industries Ministry who is looking after the project in Fatehabad, said: “People have accepted the compensation amount willingly. We have not used force at any stage. It shows that the people are with us.”
He added: “The state government has succeeded in convincing the people of Gorakhpur that nuclear power is the need of the hour. The power generated from this plant shall be beneficial not only to Haryana, but to the rest of the country as well.”
Total land acquisition: 1,503 acres
Compensation given so far: Rs 419.82 cr to 857 farmers for 1,366.11 acres
Gorakhpur: Rs 380.41 cr to 704 farmers
Badopal: Rs 38.11 cr to 126 farmers
Kajalheri: Rs 1.3 cr to 27 farmers
Compensation: Rs 46 lakh per acre
* In Phase I, two 700 MW units are proposed to be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 23,000 cr. According to NPCIL, the plants are expected to start functioning by 2018-19.
In keeping with the corrupt policies of the UPA Government, they have now stooped low to bribe the villagers in Haryana to set up a nuclear plant and thereby muzzling any protest against the plant. While many countries including Germany, Italy and Japan are slowly shutting down their reactors, India is embarking on an expansion. Instead of concentrating on renewable energy India is endangering its own people. The people of Fukushima are still suffering from the effects of their nuclear crisis. The plant is still dangerous and emitting radiation and the Government has covered up all the details and dangers. India has learnt nothing from the Bhopal gas tragedy. Why dont they invest 26000 crores in clean energy from the sun and wind?