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Jaitapur Project: Ratnagiri situation still tense, but under control

Ratnagiri , Wed, 20 Apr 2011 ANI

Ratnagiri, Apr 20 (ANI): The situation is still tense but under control in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district, where a shutdown was called by Shiv Sena on Tuesday to condemn police firing in which one person was killed while opposing the 9,900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP).


Shiv Sena's Rajapur MLA Rajan Salvi has been sent to police custody for rioting, which has raised fears of more protests.


On Tuesday, Maharashtra Industry Minister Narayan Rane blamed the Shiv Sena for instigating people against the proposed nuclear power plant.


"This was Sena's attempt to gain political mileage. We have records of meetings taken by local legislators in the villages and a meeting held at Sena Bhavan to call a shutdown in Jaitapur after which the people protested," Rane said.


On Monday, one person was killed in police firing and several were injured, as the protest against the nuclear power plant in Jaitapur turned violent.


Tabrez Sayekar, 30, was killed when the police opened fired on a mob of 700 villagers that vandalised the local police station and torched a police van.


The protests took place close on the heels of Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's statement on Friday that that the government would implement the Jaitapur project despite hurdles.


The Minister's ruling out a 'rethink' appears to have given a further fillip to the protests.


The nuclear project at Jaitapur, which would be built in collaboration with French firm Areva, has run into rough weather as protesters have argued that it would harm the local environment and put people at risk.


The project site is 25 meters above sea level. In the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan, India is planning urgent steps to review safety norms in its nuclear power plants in case of any eventuality and to withstand natural disasters of the magnitude as witnessed in Japan.


India has 20 nuclear reactors in operation in six power plants, generating over 4,000 megawatts of electricity while five other plants are under construction. (ANI)


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