Jaitapur N-plant fate hangs in balance

The fate of the multi-crore Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra continues to hang in the balance.

The proposed 9,900-MW project is coming up at Jaitapur in the Rajapur taluka of Ratnagiri district of the coastal Konkan region.

Once complete, it will be the largest nuclear power project in the world, but it has seen stiff opposition by locals in the past . The Shiv Sena has backed the locals.

“People are talking about the project during the polls. The Shiv Sena has reiterated its opposition to the project,” said anti-nuclear activist and Konkan Anti-Nuclear Power Project Committee member Pradeep Indulkar.

Of late, Amjad Borkar, the fishermen's leader who was opposed to project, has aligned with the Bharatiya Janata Party, while Pravin Gawankar, the founder of the Janhit Seva Samiti-Madban, has passed away.

Other organisations opposing the project are the Konkan Bachao Samiti, Konkan Vinashkari Prakalpavirodhi Samiti, Maharashtra Machchhimar Kruti Samiti-Ratnagiri, Ratnagiri Zilla Jagruk Manch and the Madban-Mithgavne-Jaitapur Panchkrosh Sangharsh Samiti.

The Jaitapur project was one of the key initiatives of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, headed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh. 

Before becoming chief minister, Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan was the minister of state in the PMO, handling the Department of Atomic Energy. He was keen on the project. 

Konkan strongman Narayan Rane, too, had taken it upon himself to ensure that the project saw the light of the day.

In April 2011, a youth died in police firing during protests. But later, thanks to Rane, the government opened a channel of dialogue with the people, and many of them have agreed to accept compensation for their land.

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