In a strong message to ally Shiv Sena, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said that the Jaitapur nuclear power project has now reached a stage from where there is no looking back. The CM was addressing the media in Solapur.
“Four years ago, it was possible to decide whether to continue or scrap the project. Looking at the condition of the project today, it is not possible to go back,” the CM said.
The firm stand taken by Fadnavis is likely to further strain the relations between the two alliance partners in Maharashtra.
The chief minister also expressed confidence over completing the nuclear power project, which has been facing opposition from the Sena. “We will complete the project,” Fadnavis told the reporters.
He said his government will give priority to the project of national interests.
Fadnavis’ remarks came on the backdrop of the Sena’s renewed resistance to the proposed 9,900 MW nuclear power plant being built by National Power Corporation of India (NCPIL) in collaboration with French firm Areva, which is responsible of setting up six nuclear reactors. The project is to come up at Jaitapur village in Ratnagiri district.
Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena MP from Rajya Sabha Anil Desai said his party would continue to oppose the nuclear plant in view of resistance to the project by local villagers.
A delegation of Sena MPs had recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had expressed their concerns over the project. However, the delegation had to return disappointed as the PM asked them not to oppose the project that is of national importance.
The project was among the 17 pacts singed between India and France during Modi’s recent visit to Paris. Jaitapur plant issue has created fissures among the Sena-BJP alliance in the past too.
While the Sena has been citing resistance of locals while opposing the project, around 70% of the 2,336 land title holders have already given up their land for the nuclear plant in Jaitapur.