Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday said if the state had to maintain its identity as one of the most industrialised states, then it will have to allow up power projects like the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power project to be set up.
Addressing criticism against the project, Pawar said natural calamities should not come in the way of development projects.
“One does not stop constructing houses because of the fear of an earthquake. One has to think of overcoming such calamities. In Latur, many homes were destroyed but we built many more,” said Pawar.
He was speaking at the MET College in Bandra, where he had a day-long session with party ministers, senior functionaries and women workers in lieu of the upcoming local self government polls.
He said in a state where 82% of agricultural land was fragmented and 83% of agriculture was produced without irrigation facilities, there was a clear need to take pressure off cultivation.
“Mumbai is the financial capital of the country. Maharashtra is known as the most industrialised state. If we have to continue on this path, we have to build more power projects — nuclear, hydro or even coal-based,” the NCP chief said.
He said there was a small minority that opposed the Jaitapur plant but masses across the state were opposed to load shedding.
He added that he was not the correct person to take the project forward.
He said chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who knew the project well because he worked in the Prime Minister’s office, was the right person for this job.
When asked whether he thought Shiv Sena’s opposition to the project was only on political grounds, he took a dig at Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray.
“I have not had a chance to talk with my senior friend (Bal Thackeray) in some time and I do not talk to children on this issue,” said Pawar.