No question of Jaitapur rethink, says Maharashtra CM

MUMBAI: Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday made it clear that there was no room for a rethink on the multi-crore 9,900-mw Jaitapur nuclear power project.

The CM’s response came following indications that Shiv Sena was all set to intensify its agitation against the proposed project. A Sena bandh crippled Ratnagiri district on Tuesday after a villager was killed in police firing.

Chavan said the state was ready to reconsider its compensation package. Sources in the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) also said the firm’s compensation could be reconsidered.

“The Centre granted environmental clearance to the six nuclear power plants in November. We are in possession of the entire land required for the prestigious project. Since the state needs power, there is no question of abandoning the proposal. We are determined to complete the project on schedule,” Chavan told TOI.

When asked if he would discuss the proposal with Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, Chavan said there was no need for that right now. “A week ago he spoke to me. I explained to him why the nuclear plants were needed. In my opinion, there is no safety threat since the entire project would be in accordance with international standards. All security aspects would be implemented in letter and spirit,” said Chavan.

On the rehabilitation package, Chavan said he has already visited Jaitapur and interacted with the villagers. If needed, he was ready for fresh discussions.

“Last month, I was in Jaitapur and met the villagers. Later, I convened two separate meetings to discuss the rehabilitation package. They did not turn up. Unless we discuss it, we can’t decide the rehabilitation package. In my opinion, there should be no politics in development works,” Chavan said.

A senior state official said the government has promised a compensation of Rs 14.85 crore to 2,035 account holders of whom 168 account holders have accepted compensation totalling Rs 1.38 crore.

“We have acquired 938 hectares and are prepared to pay compensation totaling Rs 14.85 crore. In addition, NPCIL has agreed to provide a job to a member of each family or pay Rs 5 lakh. Apparently, the farmers’ demand is for Rs 10 lakh per hectare. We feel that the state’s package can be negotiated to protect the interests of the farmers,” he said.

NPCIL sources also said they were ready to amend the compensation package.

Sources said political parties, particularly Shiv Sena, stepped up their agitation after Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh granted environmental clearance for the project on November 28, 2010. “The decision to set up the nuclear power plant at Jaitapur was taken after considering all aspects, particularly the possibility of an earthquake. All aspects have been examined in view of the developments in Japan. In our opinion, the situation in Japan is different and we don’t see a repeat of Japan anywhere in India,” he said.

A senior Congress minister said it appears that Sena launched the agitation to settle scores with former party man Narayan Rane, who is now industries minister. “We are paying the price of a political battle between the Sena and Rane,” he said.


News Courtesy:  Times of India

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