BHOPAL: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh today requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the decision to set up a 1400 MW nuclear power plant in tribal-dominated Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh.
In his letter addressed to the prime minister and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the AICC general secretary said the proposed 1400 MW Chutka nuke project will affect the conservation as well as bio-diversity of the Narmada river.
"The Narmada river is a lifeline of tribals living for ages in Mandla district as they earn their livelihood by fishing," Singh, currently on "Narmada Parikrama", wrote in the letter.
"Since the last four months of my Narmada Parikrama (circumambulation), I found that the river area is shrinking and getting polluted.
In such situation, establishing a nuclear power plant would not only destroy bio-diversity of the Narmada river, but would also prove disastrous for this water body," he stated.
Singh claimed a total of 606 tribal families of Chutka, Tatighat, Kunda and Manegaon villages are being forcibly displaced for the project.
"Despite being classified as per the fifth schedule of the Constitution under which Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996 is applicable, they are being forcibly displaced," he stated.
"The section 4 of the Act clearly mentions that the Gram Sabhas have roles and responsibilities in approving all development works in a village, identifying beneficiaries, issuing certificates of utilisation of funds; powers to control institutions and functionaries in all social sectors and local plans," he said.
Singh alleged that no permission of the affected Gram Sabhas were taken for this project.
"Despite their (Gram Sabhas') protests, compensation amount was deliberately deposited in the accounts of affected persons in a bid to carry out the project's work forward," the Congress leader claimed.
He said Mandla district is close to Jabalpur which is a seismic zone, and is therefore prone to earthquakes.
"If the project is established here then it may result in nuclear radiation in future in the event of any natural calamity," Singh stated.
The power plant, to be built by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCI) on 1200 acres near Chutka village, will have an installed capacity of 1400 MW.
The site is located near the Kanha National Park, one of the tiger reserves in the country and the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh.