iconimg Saturday, May 23, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, December 20, 2010
Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray called Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh a chameleon for his “flip-flop” while clearing the Jaitapur nuclear power plant project. “The environment minister has changed his stand on the Jaitapur power plant like a chameleon,” Thackeray told journalists on Sunday.

Residents from the Jaitapur-Madban belt and the Konkan Bachao Samiti had expressed concerns over the impact of the nuclear power plant on the environment and the health hazards it could pose.

Those opposing the project, including the Sena, say Ramesh has still not cleared these apprehensions before giving the project a green go-ahead.

Uddhav said the Sena will continue to oppose the project. Earlier in the day, he held a meeting with villagers from the region, who are protesting against the project.

Thackeray also met his party’s Members of Legislative Assembly from Konkan to fine-tune the Sena’s stand on the 9,900-mega watt power plant.

The Union ministry of environment and forests had given the project, an Indo-French collaboration, environmental clearance in November after listing several conditions that the project must meet.

Thackeray said the Sena was not in favour of the project coming up at Jaitapur.

“We are not against development. However, we will oppose any project that is forced upon the people of that region,” Thackeray said.

He claimed that the state government was using force to suppress the people’s agitation against the project.

Of all the mainstream political parties, the Sena has been the most vociferous in its opposition to the project.

The Sena’s opposition is being seen as an attempt by the party to involve itself in a popular people’s movement to regain lost ground in Konkan.

The party has losing its grip over the Konkan region after local strongman, Narayan Rane, rebelled and joined the Congress. The Sena has been scouting for issues it can take up to create a mass in the region.