Panel to study marine ecology, bio-diversity around Jaitapur


Rich bio-diversity of Jaitapur












In a bid to allay concerns over the impact of 9,900-MW nuclear power park at Jaitapur, Nuclear Power Corporation of India has set up a committee to undertake comprehensive studies on marine ecology and bio-diversity in the 10 kilometre area around the site.

This was one of the conditions of the environmental clearance given to the project in November last year. The move to set up this committee took on a level of urgency after environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s interaction at TISS last week. At the interaction, Ramesh was informed that field survey by TISS revealed that a large number of fishermen would be adversely affected and the local ecology would be devastated by the nuclear park.

The committee will be headed by A Rahmani of the Bombay Natural History Society, and will be a co-operative effort of the BNHS, College of Fisheries, Ratnagiri, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Mumbai, Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai and College of Forestory, Dalpoli University, Ratnagiri. The NPCIL study will be at a cost of Rs 5.86 crore and is expected to be completed within a year.

A comprehensive marine and bio-diversity management plan will also be prepared by the committee. It is in the process of selecting a person from the fields of social sciences and environment to serve as a member in the advisory committee to NPCIL Board. During his visit to TISS, Ramesh had a 75-minute interaction with students protesting the decision to set up a nuclear park at Jaitapur.

The objections ranged from faulty public hearing, to health impacts as seen in the uranium mines in Jadugoda, to the site being located in a seismic zone. This is not the first time that TISS has questioned the efficacy of the project. Last year, an impact assessment report by TISS, ‘Perception Matter- People’s Report-Social Impact Assessment of Jaitapur Madban Nuclear Power Plant’ criticised the Jaitapur project.

It suggested the project will have a “huge negative impact on social and environment development” as it is sitting on a high to moderate severity earthquake zone. Following his interaction at TISS, Ramesh had written to NPCIL chairman SK Jain suggesting that the company needed to step its outreach programme.

“I think NPCIL/department of atomic energy need to improve their public communication. I promised the students that I would request Chairman DAE/Chairman NPCIL to walk across to the TISS campus for an interaction. Ideological objections we cannot counter easily but wrong facts and misplaced perceptions can certainly be countered, ” Ramesh wrote. The NPCIL is stepping up its outreach programme. As a first step, NPCIL will be be meeting with students at TISS in June.

“We would also like to take a group of students with faculty to our nuclear power station at Tarapur, providing them with an opportunity to see for themselves the working of a nuclear power plant,” Surinder Thakur of the NPCIL wrote to TISS director S Parasuraman. In a communication to Ramesh, Jain explained that this would not be the first time that an effort to reach out to TISS is being made.

“We would like to inform you that we had been in regular interaction with TISS. We have again recently contacted Professor Parasuraman and Professor Kashyap of TISS in this regard. Let me assure you that we will put all our efforts in sharing the factual position with all the faculties and students,” Jain said.







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