MUMBAI (AFP) - Indian villagers on Saturday protested at the site of a nuclear power plant to be built with French help, campaigners said, as Frances President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in the country for a visit. Greenpeace energy specialist Lauri Myllyvirta told AFP that at least 10,000 people had turned out to oppose the construction of the facility at Jaitapur in western Maharashtra state amid a heavy policy presence. Indias environment ministry last weekend gave clearance for the estimated one-trillion-rupee (22-billion-dollar) project, which will see French company Areva supply six, third-generation pressurised water reactors. The state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is expected to sign a deal with Areva in the coming days after Sarkozy touched down in the southern city of Bangalore for a visit heavily slanted on trade deals. The protest is the latest by fishermen, farmers and their families who will have to move to make way for the 9,900-megawatt plant, which the government hopes will help alleviate Indias crippling energy deficit. They have rejected a compensation package and raised fears about the contamination of fish stocks, plus concerns about the loss of agricultural land, including for growing mangoes, which are one of the states main crops. Official assurances that the project would transform the local economy and provide new jobs have also been met with scepticism. The authorities are trying to spin this as people wanting more money, said Myllyvirta. But the people just want to have their land and have the security of that lifestyle and income. Theyre very concerned about the radiation risk and whether there will be a waste-reprocessing facility on the site. Campaigners also say that locating the plant in an earthquake-prone zone is deeply irresponsible, with the risk compounded by the lack of an independent regulator to oversee Indias nuclear industry and NPCILs safety record. French President Nicolas Sarkozy began a four-day trip to India on Saturday, pitching for new nuclear energy contracts. Sarkozy, accompanied by his wife Carla Bruni, is the latest in a long line of world leaders beating a path to India. His visit comes after those by British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama in recent months, and will be followed in swift succession by Chinas Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Sarkozy, accompanied by a bevy of ministers and a large delegation of business leaders, will lobby for multibillion-dollar contracts for fighter jets and nuclear technology, an industry in which France has a leading position. We all know how critical it is for India to ensure its energy security, Sarkozy said in a speech at the Indian Space Research Organisation in the southern Indian technology and IT hub Bangalore. Stressing that he welcomed a US-led deal in 2008 to free up trade in nuclear technology with India, Sarkozy said France was proud to be accompanying the country in its quest for greater atomic power. India is probably far greater and stronger than even it probably realises, Sarkozy said, adding that he expected the rupee to emerge one day as a world currency. Sarkozy reiterated Frances support for India to gain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, which was also backed by Obama during his trip to New Delhi last month. He also said he welcomed cooperation in space that will lead the two countries to jointly launch satellites to monitor the climate and oceans next year, and expressed a desire for more Indians to study in French universities. The president, who faces low approval ratings at home, heads a high-powered delegation of seven ministers and around 60 chief executives, including the heads of aircraft-makers Dassault Aviation and EADS, and Areva. Dassault is hoping to pick up a 1.2-billion dollar contract to revamp 56 Mirage-2000 aircraft that France sold India nearly two decades ago, though Indian officials have said no defence deals will be signed during the visit. Indias ambitious military spending plans, spread across all three wings of its armed forces, are a source of intense competition among foreign arms manufacturers. Sarkozys visit to India is his first to a G20 state since France took the presidency of the group of developed and major developing economic powers. During talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday in New Delhi, he is expected to push his plans for overhauling the global monetary system and combating commodity price volatility. The two leaders are also expected to focus their discussions on Afghanistan and counter-terrorism. We need to beat terrorism and insurgencies, notably in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, major sources of instability, Sarkozy said on Saturday. On Tuesday, the president travels to Mumbai, where he will pay his respects to the victims of the 2008 militant attacks on the city that claimed 166 lives.