A day after Shiv Sena MPs met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express opposition to the 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear power project and were reportedly asked to drop the opposition, the party, a BJP ally, has decided to intensify its agitation.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday met party leaders Sanjay Raut, Arvind Sawant, Subhash Desai and Ramdas Kadam at his residence in Mumbai to discuss the future strategy on the project, coming up in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra.
Modi had reportedly told the Sena delegation that they should not oppose the project because it would be beneficial for the country as it would bring in foreign investment.
"We have decided to intensify our agitation against the Jaitapur project now," Sawant told reporters after the meeting with Thackeray.
Kadam, the state Environment Minister, termed the project as "destructive" and said it would turn the entire Konkan along with Mumbai into "ashes" if something went wrong.
"The Sena delegation tried to explain to the PM that this project is destructive in nature and local farmers are vehemently opposing it. We also told him we will continue to back the farmers. There is no question of going back. The BJP should not turn this into a prestige issue. We had strongly opposed this project when Congress and NCP were in power, and our opposition will continue," Kadam said.
"We hope that the PM will seek advice of scientists before going ahead. I too have received some reports by scientists. I will send them to him. We hope he understands that this project will turn the entire Konkan region, along with Mumbai, into ashes," he added.
The project, where the French company Areva is setting up six nuclear reactors, has been stuck in negotiations over the cost of electricity.
It figured in the pacts signed between the two countries during the Prime Minister's recent visit to France.