PMO yet to respond to Sena’s report on Jaitapur nuclear plant

Mumbai: Shiv Sena is yet to receive a response from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on a report it sent more than a month ago detailing “adverse” impact the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant would have on the green belt in Maharashtra’ Konkan region.

Sena, a key constituent of BJP-led ruling alliances in Maharashtra and at the Centre, is strongly opposing the mega nuclear plant at Jaitapur on the ground it will “adversely” impact the fragile ecosystem in the coast region.

“We have not received any response from the PMO on our report which presented facts on why the Jaitapur nuclear power project should be scrapped,” senior Sena leader Ramdas Kadam, who is also Maharashtra Environment Minister, said.

Asked if his party is expecting a reply anytime soon, he said “we will hopefully get a response soon. But it is the prerogative of the PM to respond at a time he feels appropriate.”

Opposition Congress and NCP used the issue to mock Sena. Silence from the PMO indicates the party’s diminishing clout vis-a-vis BJP. It should not waste time in quitting the BJP-led alliance if it is truly concerned about Marathi pride, their leaders said.

Congress spokesperson Al-Nasser Zakaria said it is high time Sena understood it is no longer trusted by its senior partner.

“Silence from the PMO (on the report) for over a month indicates Sena’s diminishing standing in front of BJP. Though they are the oldest allies, Sena is no more a trusted ally of BJP,” he said.

NCP Mumbai President Sachin Ahir said the party-led by Uddhav Thackeray should not forget its primary agenda of safeguarding Marathi pride.

“It is high time Sena quit the alliance as it seems they are no longer wanted by BJP. If they remember that their primary agenda was to safeguard Marathi pride, they will withdraw support to BJP-led government at the Centre and in Maharashtra,” he said.

Sena had in December sent a report running into 418 pages to the PMO. It included objections raised by the Konkan Bachao Samiti, report of Madhavrao Gadgil Committee and details of a public hearing conducted by B J Waghmare Janhit Samiti. The report had also attached details of a public hearing conducted by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on the project.

The project is to come up in Ratnagiri district where French firm Areva will set up 6 nuclear reactors with a total power generation capacity of about 10,000 MW.