Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday declared that the state government would go ahead with the 9,900-MW Jaitapur nuclear power project being set up at a cost of Rs.60,000 crore ($130 billion) with French collaboration in Jaitapur village in the Konkan belt.
Making an unannounced visit to personally meet and assure the villagers on their apprehensions over the multi-billion rupees project, Chavan said the project will strictly adhere to all norms of operational safety and environmental protection.
"I appeal to you, please do not be misled by false propaganda against this project. It has been cleared with stringent conditions and will immensely benefit the people of this region," Chavan said, addressing a rally which was interrupted by anti-project activists shouting slogans.
Chavan said that all measures will be taken to ensure that the farmers and fisherfolk do not suffer any adverse impact on account of the plant, but urged them not to fall victim to misinformation spread by vested interests.
In his speech, 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 crucial to the country's development, its power requirements and the progress of the state and the Konkan region," Chavan pointed out. He also assured the villagers that all valid demands of the locals would be considered by the government.
Chavan's address to the villagers was marred by some activists raising slogans and demanding that the project be scrapped as it would destroy the means of livelihood of the locals.
On Nov 28, Union Minister for Environment & Forests Jairam Ramesh announced the green signal for the project, being constructed by a French consortium led by nuclear reactor maker Areva.
Two reactors with a capacity of 1,650 MW each are planned in the first phase at the 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).
The first phase is expected to be completed within the next three to four 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 two years ago.
The central clearance came after a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Areva and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) in 2009, to build at least two EPR reactors at Jaitapur.