NEW DELHI: Unfazed by growing opposition to Jaitapur nuclear power plant, the Union Environment Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh today refused to review the conditional environmental clearance given to it and asked “interest groups” not to use environment as a shield to fire at governments.
“As far as environment clearance is concerned, we have done all that is required and all different interest groups should not use environment as a shield behind which they start firing their guns at government,” Mr Ramesh told mediapersons.
He was responding when asked whether the Environment Ministry would have a rethink over the clearance given to the power plant being built by France in Maharashtra in view of demands in this regard.
Noting that “many people have different agenda” in Jaitapur, Mr Ramesh asked those opposing the environmental clearance not to “make mockery” of the process.
“On November 28, the Environment clearance for Jaitapur nuclear power project was accorded. The 35 conditions associated with the clearance have also been made public,” he said. “There are political parties which have never agreed with the fact that our Prime Minister concluded the most successful civil nuclear agreement, of which Jaitapur is the first one,” the Minister said attacking the opponents of the project.
Acknowledging that “there are some problems” associated with land acquisition, Mr Ramesh said these would be looked into by the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr Prithviraj Chavan “more sensitively. We have to take local communities along with us.”
His comments came in the backdrop of the senior BJP leader, Mr Yashwant Sinha and the CPI(M) General Secretary, Mr Prakash Karat demanding a re-look into the conditional environmental clearance given to the nuclear plant, noting that it has created a “great deal of disquiet” among locals as well as others across the country.
“There are issues of safety. More importantly there are issues of environment and a conditional clearance given by the Environment Ministry is not enough. Mr Jairam Ramesh is on a mission mode and is trying to implement policies in that mode.
Therefore, I was quite surprised, indeed shocked and I found that he has even given conditional clearance of the plant. It definitely calls for a re-look,” Mr Sinha has said
The Jaitapur nuclear power complex is located in the ecologically sensitive coastal Maharashtra region which includes Raigad, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts. An impact assessment report by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) here has come down heavily on the proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra stating that the project will have a “huge negative impact on social and environment development” as it is sitting on a high to moderate severity earthquake zone.