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Comprehensive study on ecology in Jaitapur
The National Power Corporation of India Limited plans to undertake a study, costing Rs 5.86 crore, on impact of the Jaitapur Project on marine ecology and biodiversity in the area. The activists, however, are sceptical of the benefits of project.

The National Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) plans to undertake a comprehensive study to understand the possible effects of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project on the marine ecology and biodiversity in the area. Five environmental organisations will participate in the study, which will be headed by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Director A.R. Rahmani.

In a letter, NPCIL chairperson and managing director S.K. Jain informed Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh that a letter of intent to undertake the study had been issued on May 16.

At a recent public tribunal on the safety and viability of nuclear energy here, concerns were expressed regarding the absence of a study on the impact of the project on the vibrant marine ecology around Jaitapur.

The study, which is stipulated to be completed in a year, will cost approximately Rs.5.86 crore. It will be conducted in a 10-km area around the proposed project site. “As a part of the studies, a comprehensive marine and biodiversity management plan will also be prepared,” the letter said.

The organisations slated to participate in the study are the BNHS; the College of Fisheries, Ratnagiri; the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Mumbai; the Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai; and the College of Forestry, Dapoli University, Ratnagiri.

Dr. Rahmani said he was not aware of the details. “I was out of town for the past few days. I have just returned. The communication must be there in the office,” he told The Hindu.

Activists and experts expressed scepticism about the study. “What is new in this? It has already been stated in the environmental clearance that the NPCIL will conduct such a study. This study should have been done as a part of the EIA [Environment Impact Assessment],” Debi Goenka, Executive Trustee, Conservation Action Trust, told The Hindu.

He also asked how the outcome of the study would affect the fate of the project. “This [study] is going to be a waste of money and energy. One year down the line, whatever the result of the study, they are not going to stop the work on the project. The damage would have begun by then. They have already got the environmental clearance. Whatever the results of the study will be, they won't be factored in the environmental clearance,” Mr. Goenka said.

Widespread opposition

There has been widespread opposition to the Jaitapur project, from activists, local villagers and students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

The NPCIL has been accused of not having encouraged scientific dialogue on the project.

The NPCIL has now said that it will invite the students and faculty members of TISS to visit any of their nuclear power plants.

Source: The Hindu

Theme : [Environment]