Government pushes ahead with Jaitapur n-project


New Delhi : The government is pushing ahead with the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra, with plans for a new compensation package for displaced local persons, and will ensure that all safety conditions are adhered to in the 9,900 MW project, a minister said Tuesday.

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“A generous compensation package had been worked out by state government and NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited) and will be announced soon,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy told reporters.

This was among a slew of decisions taken at a meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday on the current status of Jaitapur project and safety concerns about India’s nuclear programme arising from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis.

The meeting was attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, Narayanasamy, Atomic Energy Commission chief Srikumar Banerjee and senior bureaucrats.

Narayanasamy said that at the meeting, the NPCIL chairman assured “that each of the 35 concerns stipulated as part of the environmental review will be adhered in a fully transparent manner”.

He added that Jaitapur project will be implemented in a phased manner, with the first two reactors of 2,650 MW each to be operational by 2019.

It was noted each reactor will have its “own stand-alone safety and operational system”.

The minister, who was flanked by Ramesh and Chavan at the press conference, said that the government will make all efforts “to engage local communities and address their fears in a credible manner”, with “livelihood of local fishermen given the highest priority”.

The meeting also reiterated that “India’s energy needs are vast and growing and nuclear energy is an important clean energy option”.

Prithviraj Chavan said the Jaitpur protests were largely based on “rumours”. There were “lots of outsiders who have a definitely political view”, he added, alluding to the Shiv Sena’s opposition to the project.

“There is no question of a pause,” asserted Chavan.