Jaitapur n-plant site issue being politicised, says Ramesh

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NEW DELHI - Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh Wednesday said that the issue of setting up a nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra is being “politicised” by opposition parties, unhappy over the “success” of the India-US nuclear deal, and ruled out a review of the green nod for the project site.

“The issue is being politicised by the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) as they were against the Indo-US nuclear deal,” Ramesh told reporters here.

He said environmental clearance to the project was accorded Nov 28 with 35 conditions and there was no question of “reviewing” it.

“Many people have different agendas in Jaitapur. There are political parties who were never happy with the fact that our prime minister concluded a more successful civil nuclear agreement (with the US), of which Jaitpur is the first positive outcome,” he said.

There are some problems associated with the land acquisition which Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has said he will look into most sensitively, Ramesh said.

“We have to take the local community along with us, but as far as environmental clearance is concerned we have done all that we could. All different interest groups should not use environment as a shield or a cloak behind which they start firing their guns at the government,” he added.

On Tuesday, the BJP and the CPI-M demanded that the government should reassess the clearance given to the nuclear plant at Jaitapur.

The ministry last month accorded clearance to the 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear power project slated to come up in Ratnagiri district of the state. The plant will be set up in collaboration with France’s Areva group.

Local fishermen are protesting the location of the plant, fearing they would not be allowed to carry out fishing in the area for security reasons.

Ramesh said, “When we talk of climate change, nuclear energy is very important and so is the Jaitapur nuclear plant.”

“At present, only 3 percent of the total energy generated in India is from nuclear plants. We have to double this in the next 10 years and triple it in the next 15-20 years,” he added.

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