The Central and state governments are not considering the Shiv Sena’s demand to scrap the nuclear power project at Jaitapur.
The 9,900-MW project that was cleared by the Manmohan Singh government and pushed by the Prithviraj Chavan dispensation in the state will go on schedule, sources privy to the development said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conveyed clearly to the state government that there is no option to review the Jaitapur decision, but issues raised by the Shiv Sena could be discussed to ally any apprehensions.
A senior state cabinet minister said: “ The PM has already met Sena members in Delhi. Now, where is the question of a rethink? Sena also needs to look at the issue with open mind.”
Shiv Sena is consistently voicing its opposition to Jaitapur project and the land acquisition bill. A BJP leader said, “Now, the Maharashtra government has made provisions for 25 per cent more compensation to farmers compared to the Centre. Individual farmers can directly negotiate the land price and decide before sale. The Sena has no reason to complain.”
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has repeatedly issued threats to take to the streets against the Jaitapur project. Thackeray believes the project would be hazardous for the Konkan region. Citing examples of Germany and Japan, he said, “They are phasing out nuclear power projects and we are promoting them in our state.”
However, Shiv Sena finds itself waging a lone battle. Congress and NCP who are in opposition are supporting the nuclear power plant arguing that the country would require more power in the future.
A senior Sena functionary said, “The protest against Jaitapur project is to send across a strong message across the country that Sena is concerned about safeguarding the environment. It would appeal to people across sections not only in Maharashtra but also across the country. It also provides a political turf to Sena to retain its hold in the Konkan.”
Revenue and Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse said, “After CM Devendra Fadnavis returns from China, we will discuss all the issues which are worrying Sena, including Jaitapur.”