Mumbai: In a major turnaround, the Shiv Sena, after opposing the nuclear power project in Jaitapur, Ratnagiri district, for more than a decade now, has given its support for the development of a 9,900 mw nuclear power plant in the area.
On Wednesday, the party changed its earlier stand after 90 per cent of the project-affected persons opted for the compensation package offered by the Nuclear Power Corporation. Earlier, the Sena had opposed the project citing opposition from the local villagers and the fishing community, who had said that it would ruin the environment and impact their livelihood.
With this move, the Sena, which heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, has left it to the Centre to decide the future course of action. Shiv Sena legislator Rajan Salvi, who was at the forefront of the opposition to the Jaitapur project, said on Wednesday that now, the local populace wanted its development.
‘‘Shiv Sena remained with the locals, who had opposed the project development from the outset. However, till date, 90 per cent of the locals have accepted the compensation provided by the Nuclear Power Corporation. The party prefers to remain with the locals who now want the commissioning of the project,’’ he noted.
On December 6, 2010, an agreement was signed for the construction of the first set of two third-generation European pressurised reactors and the supply of nuclear fuel for 25 years and, later, another agreement was inked in 2015 to pursue the project development. However, the construction could not proceed after the 2011 accident at the Fukushima plant in Japan, which led to changes in technical designs with more safety applications. The commercial terms are yet to be finalised.
Further, the Shiv Sena has also changed its stand on the development of the Rs 3 lakh crore refinery project at Nanar in Ratnagiri district. Because of its strong opposition, the BJP-led government in March 2019 had scrapped the notification on the project development.
Salvi said, the Shiv Sena had sided with the locals who were opposed to the project. ‘‘However, the locals have changed their stand and now they want the development of a refinery project at Nanar. In such a situation, Shiv Sena would like to be with the locals,’’ he said.
The refinery was proposed as a 50:50 joint venture between Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemical Limited (RRPCL) — its investors were Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum and the Saudi-owned Aramco and UAE’s National Oil Company.