The Andhra Pradesh government's notification on Thursday, for acquiring land to build one of India’s biggest nuclear power plants at Kovvada in Srikakulam district, has resulted in a backlash.
Writing for The Hindu, K Srinivasa Rao reported that the protesters alleged that the notification was issued without conducting a public hearing on the project, which is a violation of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013.
The report also quotes Left parties claiming that a public meeting conducted as part of the Social Impact Survey was being shown as the official public hearing.
“We are planning to complete the acquisition in six months. The land will then be handed over to the NPCIL. We hope the villagers will cooperate as the compensation of Rs. 18 lakh per acre is more than fair,” J Sitarama Rao, Special Deputy Collector, Kovvada Land Acquisition, told The Hindu.
This comes after Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply that the nuclear plant had been approved.
In February, Singh said, "The approval has been given for a site at Kovvada in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh for the six reactors in cooperation with the United States. Pre-project activities, including land acquisition, obtaining statutory clearances and detailed site investigations are continuing at the site."
"Discussions on techno-commercial aspects with M/s Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) to arrive at a project proposal have also started. The procedures involved in pre-project activities take time. Similarly, negotiations with foreign technology partners involving legal, regulatory, technical and commercial aspects also take time," he had said.
Kovvada is roughly 70 km from Visakhapatnam, and six reactors each with a capacity of 1000 MW each, are being planned here.
However, the project has also been witnessing a long-standing protest by locals, who claim that they will lose everything they have.
The Left parties, have also alleged that the administration was using various methods, like illegal distribution of money and forging land ownership documents, to pressurise the villagers to give up their land.