Defending the proposed nuclear power project at Jaitapur in coastal Ratnagiri district, chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the protests against the plant were unfounded and based on ‘misunderstandings’.
Chavan told this to the media at the state secretariat on Wednesday while discussing the proposed site visit of a Congress delegation. He said, “As the state government, our role was limited to making the land available and we want to ensure that the land owners get the best possible compensation. The party has sent a delegation to understand the nature of the people’s problems.”
Claiming that the issue should not be politicised, Chavan said the government was planning a meeting of local NGOs, all party MLAs and other stakeholders with a team of experts to discuss the issue.
Meanwhile, the eight-member Congress delegation, led by party spokesperson Hussain Dalwai, believe that the locals should be taken into confidence before starting the project. “It appears that the government did not take the locals into confidence. The Opposition took benefit of this and is misleading people,’’ said Dalwai.
The panel will meet Chavan and apprise him of the feelings of the people. “We are recommending that the government should increase the compensation amount being offered to the landowners. Also, the cases police have filed against the people who staged agitations should be withdrawn,” Dalwai said.
He said the party would request the government to avoid acquiring agricultural land for the project. “We hope there will be an amicable solution to the problem,” he said.
When questioned about environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s comments, Chavan said: “The environment ministry is not responsible for the nuclear power projects, it is the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). So, what he said was factual. The AERB has special expertise to review, regulate such projects.”