Mumbai, Feb 28 (IANS) The Shiv Sena Monday warned that the advocates of the multi-billion-rupee Jaitapur nuclear power plant would be beaten up with slippers wherever they travel in the Konkan region for crushing the voice of those opposing the project.
Reacting sharply to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s statement in support of the 9,900-MW project Saturday, the party said Industry Minister Narayan Rane and others who are bent on trampling on the sentiments of the local villagers would be beaten in every street of the Konkan region.
“We appeal with folded hands to the CM (chief minister) that he should not be battered with chappals (slippers) for his stand on this issue,” the Shiv Sena said in an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamna’.
At a massive public rally in Jaitapur, Chavan Saturday made it clear that the government would go ahead with the project as the country’s development, the state’s power requirements and the progress of the entire coastal Konkan region were involved.
Saamna clarified that it was not against the country’s development, but was concerned about the manner in which the project would make a graveyard of the Konkan region and its ecology.
“The people of this region are worried about what will happen to their agricultural lands and fishing in the sea water which would be poisoned by the project and the fate of the future generations,” it added.
Though the chief minister has assured a rehabilitation package, the Sena said that after he is removed, Chavan would be rehabilitated by his party, but what about the millions of people living in the Konkan, whose lives would be ruined by the project.
Attacking Rane, the Shiv Sena said the Congress has given a ‘contract’ (supari) to him to ensure that the Jaitapur nuclear power plant is pushed through.
Warning Chavan that the project cannot be thrust upon the Konkan people against their wishes, the Sena pointed out that “there is a sea of opposition to the project”.
During his Jaitapur trip, Chavan assured the people that the project will strictly adhere to all norms of operational safety and environmental protection and appealed to them not to fall prey to false propaganda against the crucial project.
Chavan called upon the local activists and the Shiv Sena to refrain from raising ‘invalid’ issues and instigating opposition to the mega project.
“This project is critical to the country’s development, its power requirements and the progress of the state and the Konkan region,” Chavan pointed out.
Two reactors with a capacity of 1,650 MW each are planned in the first phase at the plant site, barely 200 km south of the Tarapur Atomic Power Station near Mumbai.
The second phase of the project is likely to have six European pressurised reactors (EPRs), and the total estimated cost is put around Rs.60,000 crore ($130 billion).
The first phase is expected to be completed within the next 3-4 years, and the rest will be completed by 2018.
This will be India’s first large-capacity plant using imported equipment after a three-decade global nuclear trade ban was lifted a couple of years ago.
The central clearance came last November after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Areva and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) in 2009, to build at least two EPR reactors at Jaitapur.