Mithivirdi Nuclear Plant Shifted Out of Gujarat Following Protests, Delay in Land Acquisition

Reported by

Surabhi BhandariLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

May 26, 2021

Location of Conflict

Mithivirdi

,

Bhavnagar

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Nuclear Power Plant

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

4000

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

777

ha

State

Gujarat

Sector

Power

The residents of Mithivirdi and other villages in Gujarat's Bhavnagar district had been opposing a 6,000megawatt nuclear power plant in their area as the plant requires surrender of agricultural and common land. Signed in 2007 by the Gujarat government, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Toshiba Corp's Westinghouse Electric Company at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, the project was considered a big boost to the economic and strategic relationship between India and the United States. The indoJapan nuclear deal and the understanding on nuclear liability issues during Former US President Barack Obama's visit in 2015 are said to have paved the way for the US firm to commit to India. The village residents, however, were not convinced about the benefits of the power plant and refused to part with their land, which has been very fertile and gives high yields. One of the residents said, "I easily make INR 78 lakh every year with very less input cost because of the high fertility of the land. It gives everything to me and my family to lead a happy life. Out of the 777 hectares required for the six nuclear reactors of US firm Westinghouse, a total of 670 hectares are agricultural land (producing both Kharif and Rabi crops), five hectares are forestland (commons) and the remaining land includes wasteland, forest, scrub land and water bodies. In March 2013, residents of five villagers to be affected by the project walked out of the public hearing organised for it. They contended that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report was flawed and invalid because it was prepared by a consultant (Engineers India Limited) that was not accredited to do it. It did not have a rehabilitation and resettlement plan for the affected people. They further argued that since, as villagers, they are not knowledgeable or articulate enough, experts and nonprofit organisations should be allowed to speak on their behalf. When the collector refused to allow this, they staged a walkout. The authorities declared the conclusion of the public hearing and refused to organise it again to hear the villagers out. The villagers also approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) challenging the coastal regulatory zone clearance given to the project. In January 2015, the heads of four villages in Bhavnagar district wrote an open letter to Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for a public discussion and debate. Stating their claims and concerns, they had also emphasised the environment ministry's criticism of the EIA report and its order to revise and resubmit it. In 2016, discussions to shift the project to Andhra Pradesh started and in 2018, after a decade, the environment ministry informed the NGT of its decision to shift the proposed plant from the coastal district of Gujarat to Kavvada in Andhra Pradesh on account of delay in land acquisition at ChhayaMithivirdi site. Our protests and arguments were backed by academic and scientific facts. We fought a wellorganised battle to get rid of this project, said Rohit Prajapati, a petitioner.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest, Non-Forest (Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

50000

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

777

ha

Starting Year

2007

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation, Complaint against procedural violations, Refusal to give up land for the project

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Government of Gujarat

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Toshiba Corp, Engineers India Limited

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

Yes

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
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