The Opposition in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday urged the government not to go ahead with the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra if it was being opposed by the locals and charged the authorities with unleashing 'repression' against those opposed the project.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Manohar Joshi (Shiv Sena) said his party was opposed to the project reflecting the sentiments of the people in the Konkan area of the State. He alleged that the Minister in the Maharashtra Government was 'trying to threaten' the people of the area but the Chief Minister remained silent.

Mr. Joshi said while the people wanted the project to be shifted to any other place, the government wants to push it. "If the project was not stopped, the situation might take a serious turn," he said.

Joining the issue, D. Raja (CPI) said there was an unprecedented repression against the local people opposing the project and this should end. "The government is promoting an untested technology in India, which is objectionable," he said, referring to the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) being planned for the project.

Mr. Raja said the EPR of the French Areva company was not operational anywhere in the world. The CPI member said the government was also trying to subvert the Indian liability law by coming out with friendly rules for the benefit of multinational corporations.

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy during his visit to India had pressed for Indian liability laws to conform to the Vienna Convention, he said. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is setting up two 1650 MW nuclear power plants sourced from Areva at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district.

Raising the issue of fake currency circulation, Tarun Vijay (BJP) said Pakistan had let loose economic terrorism on India by helping those involved in fake currency circulation. Noting that there has been a 250 per cent increase in counterfeit currencies in the country, he said terrorist forces were being strengthened by these operations.

He said, according to intelligence report, an official printing press in Balochistan was being used for printing the fake notes which were routed to India via Nepal by the terrorist networks including the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Mr. Vijay said India should take up the issue with Pakistan.

However, Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U) demanded that Pakistani artists should be given visas in order promote neighbourly relations. He cited an example of a Pakistani painter who made a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi with his blood.

The painter wanted to present this to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but was denied visa by the Indian government. He regretted that India is not helping moderate elements in Pakistan who are under threat from the fundamental elements in that country.

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