Shiv Sena, partner in the ruling coalition, dubbed the Jaitapur nuclear power project in the coastal Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra as "monster", and said it would not allow it to proceed, after the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's assurance that it would be completed.
"We will not let Jaitapur become Fukushima (the site of nuclear reactor in Japan which was hit by a tsunami) at any cost. Shiv Sena delegation will soon meet the Prime Minister and convey our stand... If Germany can discontinue nuclear power projects, why can't we do the same?" party president Uddhav Thackeray said here this evening.
Fadnavis, in an interview to PTI last week, had said the Jaitapur project had reached a stage from where there was no going back.
"The Jaitapur project is a monster. Don't go ahead with it thinking it is a prestige issue. If the Chief Minister says this project has reached a stage from where it cannot go back, he should first at least have a discussion with us on it," Thackeray said.
The state industries minister and Sena leader Subhash Desai echoed Thackeray while speaking to reporters at another event today.
"The motto of Shiv Sena is 'of the people and for the people'. Our party president Uddhav Thackeray has always opposed anything which is not in the interests of people of Mumbai and Maharashtra," Desai said.
Speaking to PTI last week, the CM had said, "BJP feels that India needs nuclear power and when the Prime Minister does something, he does it for the benefit of the country. This project will be completed at any cost now."
Desai, however, maintained that following the Fukushima incident, the locals in Jaitapur area had serious concerns about the nuclear power plant.
"The locals don't want the nuclear project as it is dangerous and explosive and could turn into a disaster, as happened in Fukushima. Therefore Shiv Sena has supported their sentiments and our stand continues," Desai said.
When countries like France, Germany, Japan and America were planning to reduce their nuclear power capacity, why should Maharashtra embrace such a dangerous form of energy source, he asked.
"In the event of any untoward incident, not only the locals of Jaitapur but the entire Ratnagiri as well as Mumbai will be affected. Moreover, the electricity generated from the plant will not be sold entirely to Maharashtra but also to other states. Then why should Maharashtra face the danger," Desai said.
Thackeray would soon discuss this matter with the Chief Minister, he said.
"The CM is going to discuss this issue with Thackeray. We are hopeful that Thackeray will be able to successfully convince him, and the CM will also respect the sentiments of the people," Desai added.
The state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) has entered into an agreement with the French company Areva to set up six nuclear reactors with total power generation capacity of about 9,900 MW in Jaitapur.