The villagers are opposing a proposed Rs 10,000 crore port by Jindal Group at Nandgaon in Boisar, 100 kms from Mumbai, and are indignant that Sajjan Jindal seems to have gone back on his word.
Last year while on a site visit, after Jindal was gheraoed by locals, he gave them a written assurance that the port will not be constructed if people oppose it (MM, Sept 18, 2013).
The group had then received an NOC from Maharashtra Maritime Board, but now they have an NOC from the State Fisheries Department, and fisherfolk fear Jindal is going ahead.
The port will affect fisherfolk of Nandgaon, Alewadi, Navapur, Murbhe, Uchedi-Dandi and Satpati. “Fishermen will lose their livelihood as fishing will be banned due to heavy container ship movement. Families will lose their centuries-old homes, as land will be acquired. Where will we go?” asked Rambhau Patil, president, Maharashtra Machimar Kriti Samiti.
“There will also be an increase in heavy duty truck movement, as a truck terminal will be built,” said Patil. “Over 8,000 people attended a hearing last year, and we sent 3,500 written protests to Jindal.”
After giving us his word, Jindal could have scrapped the project. But the fact that he has now got an NOC from Fisheries Department, implies he plans to go ahead, said Patil.
“We hope Jindal honours his commitment, even though the panchayat has not issued an NOC,” said Vaishnavi Thakur, sarpanch, Nandgaon Gram Panchayat. The panchayat NOC is vital and is decided by seeking the opinion of villagers.
People are also upset with S S Shinde, commissioner of Fisheries Dept, who granted the NOC. “Last year, as commissioner of Maritime Board, he issued the NOC. When questioned, he rudely said he’s answerable to the government, not us,” said Patil.
Meanwhile, Prashant Patil of Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, said, “We will file a PIL in HC as people oppose the project.”
When Mirror contacted Jindal Group, General Manager (Services) Sudhir Parulekar said they will not break any laws. “The proposed port by our group is no threat to fishermen, as is being viewed,” Parulekar said, refusing to elaborate further.