The Kovvada nuclear power plant was proposed in 2015. It is a six-gigawatt Light Water Reactor plant in Ranasthalam block of Srikakulam district. It is being set up by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, with the reactors provided by GE Westinghouse. The project spans over 2,079.79 acres in seven villages lining the coast and is estimated to displace about 8,000 people.
The displaced communities are largely fishing communities, who rely on the sea for their livelihood, and agriculturalists who grow paddy, coconut, banana and corn, among other crops. In 2015, when land acquisition began, the affected communities protested saying that this would impact their livelihoods and demanded that the social impact assessment be completed before land acquisition. They also demanded more information on the project and the safety precautions that were being taken.
While acquisition was being pursued by the government, in March 2017, Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy, after which the project was stuck. However, the state government announced in December 2017 that the land acquisition for the project was successfully completed. This was because 791 acres of the required 2,079 acres are government lands, making the land acquisition process easier.
By 2018, the US government claimed that it was emerging out of bankruptcy and would be able to deliver the reactors on time.
Despite the land acquisition order being issued in November 2015, the order said that acquisition proceedings will be carried out according to the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. The government issued the notification as per the state’s policy—Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) for Project Affected Families, 2005. The 2015 acquisition order appears to be unavailable online for review.
By September 2019, only 80 per cent of the compensation was paid for the acquired lands. Rehabilitation and compensation packages were provided to 1,850 of 1,892 beneficiaries. Further, while compensation of INR 18 lakh per acre was eventually agreed to be paid, the displaced farmers questioned the disparity in paying INR 48 lakh per acre to the displaced in Amravati. Even though all people living within those 30-odd kilometres will be exposed to high doses of radiation, compensation is being given only to those whose lands have been acquired.
As of December 2019, the Environment Impact Assessment report for the project remains incomplete, according to the status on the official online portal for environmental clearances.
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Government of Andhra Pradesh
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
Legislations Involved in the Conflict:
Land Acquisition Laws
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?