Chavan meets Manmohan Singh on Jaitapur project


New Delhi : Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power project in Ratnagiri district that is facing stiff opposition from the people.

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Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh also attended the meeting.

Chavan is reported to have sought the central government’s stand on the 9,000 MW project that is being vociferously protested against by the locals. The latest round of agitation last week claimed one life in police firing.

Chavan came to the prime minister’s official residence at 7, Race Course Road here.

“The chief minister held a meeting with the PM,” said an official of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Chavan, Ramesh along with the Atomic Energy Commission chief Srikumar Banerjee will hold a joint briefing on the future of nuclear plant later in the day.

There have been a string of protests from people living near the Jaitapur power plant. On April 18, over 600 people from Sakhrinate village demonstrated against the power plant and allegedly attacked the local police station.

The police said they had to open fire in self-defence and one Tavrez Sejkar was killed in the firing. Ramesh has defended the ‘go ahead’ to the project and said it is not an ‘environmental concern’.

“The plant is not an environmental concern. As far as environment clearance is concerned. We have done all that is required and all different interest groups should not use environment as a shield behind which they start firing their guns at government,” Ramesh had said.

On Nov 28 last year, environment clearance for Jaitapur was accorded. The protests intensified after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in its Impact Assessment Report said setting up of a nuclear power plant in the Konkan region was not right.

It said the project, spreading over about 968 hectares of land spanning five villages, will have a huge negative impact on the social as well as environmental development of not just these villages and the surrounding areas but the Konkan region in general.

After the Japan earthquake, concerns were raised about the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) as it was located in the ecologically sensitive coastal Maharashtra areas.