Environment Ministry defends Jaitapur project

Written by: Manoj Kumar Ramesh
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New Delhi, Dec.29 (ANI): The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) today defended the establishment of the controversial nuclear plant project at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

Dubbing the decision as a difficult one, the MoEF has defended the environment clearance given to the plant. The decision was taken while considering strategic, economic, global diplomacy and environmental concerns.

The ministry is reported to have said, "All battles cannot be fought using environment as a cloak."

The MoEF also studied concerns raised by several NGOs including Konkan Bachao Samiti before clearing the project and imposed 35 strict conditions to minimise ecological impact.

According to sources, the Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had even written a letter to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha and defended his stand. Sinha has been opposing the project.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has come out in support of the project.

Chavan has assured of adequate compensation for all those farmers who have lost their land.

He has also said the atomic department officials will meet residents, local organisations and representatives to clear misconceptions about the project.

"From the state government's side, we will never let unsafe technology to our state, because we have 20 years of experience in atomic reactors in our country and currently nearly 6 reactors are functioning in Maharashtra," said Chavan.

"So, calling it unsafe would be totally wrong. There are tests which are going on in this regard and we are trying that the right kind of information should reach people. We will plan a meeting with the locals in which we will invite atomic energy experts," he added.

It has been also assured that a Congress team in Ratnagiri will review the situation.

Villagers in the area claim their lands were forcefully taken away, and that the project has no plans for storage or disposal of nuclear waste.

"A Congress committee is going to Jaitapur. The committee will talk to locals and fishermen there. We will listen to their views and problems," said Manikrao Thakre, the Maharashtra Congress chief.

The Jaitapur nuclear power complex is located in the ecologically sensitive coastal in Maharashtra, which includes Raigad, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India is building the 9900 megawatt power plant in collaboration with French nuclear designing firm Areva. (ANI)

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