State ministers upset with Centre’s ‘flip-flops’
The state government wants to know the Centre’s final stand on the Jaitapur nuclear power plant.mumbai Updated: Apr 26, 2011 01:55 IST
The state government wants to know the Centre’s final stand on the Jaitapur nuclear power plant.
Tired of the ‘flip-flops’, state ministers who are dealing with the power plant issue want the Centre to come out with a clear policy on the project and to rein in its ministers from making contradictory statements.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday to brief him on the situation in the state, interacted with his ministerial colleagues and officials of the plant promoters — the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) — on Monday.
In the meeting, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who also heads the energy department, suggested that Chavan clarify with the prime minister whether the Centre was really keen on the project.
Industry minister Narayan Rane, who belongs to the Konkan region where the nuclear plant is proposed, said that a final say from the Union government would help the state plan its course of action. “It’s time that we took a final decision,” he said.
The ministers were especially irked by the contradictory statements made by Union ministers, saying that they were sending mixed signals to the people that the government was dithering on the issue.
For instance, earlier in the month, Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh had announced that there would be no rethink on the Jaitapur project. This statement was the trigger for the Shiv Sena-sponsored violence in the Ratnagiri district last week.
Following the protest, Ramesh immediately changed his stand and said the Centre would press the “pause button” on setting up of the plant.
Similarly, Union power minister Sushilkumar Shinde made a statement that indicated that the Centre was not sure about the project.
According to a senior official, the CM and state ministers were concerned about Ramesh’s remark. Meanwhile, NPCIL officials came under attack for their failure to convince people about project. “If Gujarat can convince its people for the Narmada project and get it executed, what stops you [NPCIL] from doing so?” Rane and Pawar asked.
The CM suggested that the NPCIL set up a media centre where all benefits of the project could be explained to the locals.
Chavan is expected to compile suggestions, objections and state’s preparedness to support the plant for a presentation to the PM.