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Nuclear Power Corp wants to renegotiate Haripur plant with Mamata Banerjee government

Despite the state government putting its foot down, the company conducted a survey of the birds in the area last year.

kolkata Updated: Apr 03, 2017 15:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Nuclear Power,West Bengal,Mamata Banerjee
The Kudankulam plant in Tamil Nadu was the most recent power plant to be built in the country.(HT Photo)

Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) wants to renegotiate the nuclear power plant at Haripur in coastal West Bengal with the Mamata Banerjee government, an official of the PSU said in Kolkata on Monday. Soon after assuming power in May 2011, the chief minister ‘scrapped’ the project and categorically stated the government won’t allow nuclear plants anywhere in the state.

On Monday, NPCIL officials said in Kolkata that despite the state government objecting to the project, the company authorities did not shelve the proposal for setting up six nuclear reactors in Russian collaboration.

Read: Second unit ready for nuclear power generation at Kudankulam

“The plan was never shelved. We are ready. We are awaiting the state government’s decision. It is a proposed plant and we hope to have a positive discussion very soon with the state government,” Anutosh Chakraborty, additional chief engineer, Haripur Nuclear Park, said on the sidelines of an event to release the report of a survey on bird species on the coastal Bengal, including Haripur.

The plan is to build the plant in six phases – following the model at Kudankulam.

Mamata Banerjee categorically opposed the nuclear power plant in Haripur, about 125 km away. (HT Photo)

“This is the first time that a pre-project bird study has been conducted at any proposed nuclear power plant site in India,” Chakraborty said.

The power plant proposal received positive response from the erstwhile Left Front government, but hit roadblocks when locals, especially the fishermen and farming communities, lodged massive protests and got the support of Trinamool Congress.

Read: N-plant plan meets stiff opposition

On Monday, minutes after the NPCIL’s press meet, state power minister Sovandeb Chatterjee told HT that the state government’s stand has not changed.

“The state government has no plans to agree to any nuclear power plant anywhere in the state. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee clearly said that the government is against nuclear power plants. That stand has not changed,” Chatterjee said.

Former Lok Sabha MP and now state transport minister Suvendu Adhikari played a prominent role in organising opposition to the resistance movement to the proposed plant. (HT Photo)

In August 2011 former power minister Manish Gupta announced in the Assembly the state government’s opposition to the plant.

During the day, the survey titled ‘Coastal Avian Diversity Survey West Bengal -2017’, was released from the office of the additional chief engineer-Haripur Nuclear Park.

Read: Scrap Haripur nuclear power project, demand locals

The report said that volunteers from NPCIL, members of Prakruti Samsad, researchers from Wildlife Institute of India-Deheradun and other likeminded birders participated in the study conducted over 2016 and 2017. “The information gathered through this study shall prove pivotal to shorebird conservation planning in our country,” the report claimed.

As many as 34 bird species were identified at the Shoura-Haripur belt, the second highest among the 12 coastal belts surveyed across the coastal districts of East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas. Highest numbers of species - 38 - were identified at neighbouring Junput area.

First Published: Apr 03, 2017 15:55 IST