In what can be seen as a green signal to the upcoming 2,800 MW atomic power project in Gorakhpur village of Fatehabad district in Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana high court on 16-05-2013 dismissed a bunch of petitions filed by farmers against the plant.
A division bench of the HC comprising Justice A K Mittal and Justice G S Sandhawalia passed these orders while giving reference to recent supreme court judgment, giving a go-ahead for Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, in which SC had observed that such plants are set up for the welfare of people and for sustainable growth.
In the Kudankulam case, the apex court in its May 6 orders had also observed that development of nuclear energy is important for India and allowing the plant is in larger public interest.
The development is significant, as a large number of petitioners of Gorakhpur village, whose land was acquired by the government for setting up the plant, had moved the Punjab and Haryana high court demanding quashing of government notifications, whereby the process of acquiring around 1,500 acre land of Gorakhpur and adjoining villages of Fatehabad district was initiated.
In their petition, filed in January 2012, the farmers had also sought directions to shift the site of project towards barren or less fertile land, which is in abundance in the adjoining villages of other districts.
Contending that the plant is proposed on fertile land, which is the only source of their livelihood, villagers had submitted that the said land gives 2-3 crops per year and there is no reason why such fertile land has been selected for the plant.
Villagers have also argued that in the instant case, Haryana government has shown undue haste for acquisition of land without considering the suitability of land from Union ministry of environment and AERB and Nuclear Power Corporation.
"No public objection was invited while publishing the site selection. Farmers are protesting and the state government remained insensitive despite death of three protesting farmers in the past one year," the petition had alleged.
During the hearing of the petition, it also emerged that a large number of petitioners had accepted compensation amount from the state government against acquisition of their land.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is expected to start construction work of the project in August this year.