‘There is still time to convince farmers, fishermen'

The Centre is amenable to changing the nuclear park site allocated to Russia in West Bengal, said Government sources while reacting to reports of Moscow being unhappy in view of stir threats against land acquisition.

In fact the government indicated its flexibility when the Russian unease first surfaced towards the beginning of this year following statements by some Trinamool Congress leaders.

However, the sources feel there is still time to convince farmers and fishermen. India and Russia will turn their sights towards the Haripur nuclear park only after achieving some sort of closure on four additional units planned at the first site allocated to Russia at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu. Two units of 1,000 MW each are already coming up at the same site.

Early this year, high ranking Russian diplomats asked India to take into account the local political situation at the Haripur after the Trinamool raised the issue in West Bengal and Parliament. The Russian National Security Advisor Nikolai Petroshev also mentioned this when he met his Indian counterpart Shivshankar Menon in February this year.

Diplomats did not think the issue was insurmountable since land acquisition issues were expected at coastal sites for nuclear power plants. While the government allocated Haripur for Russia-origin reactors, two other coastal sites at Mithi Virdi in Gujarat and Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh have been set aside for the U.S. based companies. Land acquisition at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, set aside for the French-origin nuclear power plants, is currently on.

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