The project had faced stiff resistance from environmental activists and people living in the area

Construction of the 2,800-MWe nuclear power project at Gorakhpur in Haryana will begin soon, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laying the foundation stone on January 13.

An expert panel under the Ministry of Environment and Forests has given the green signal for the project.

In the pipeline since 2009, the project had faced stiff resistance from environmental activists as well as people living in the area.

Authorities, however, achieved a breakthrough last year after most of the farmers, on whose land the project comes up, agreed to part with it and end their protest.

But there are many more hurdles to be crossed.

In particular, a section of farmers in the neighbourhood has been protesting against the proposal to use water from the Bhakra dam for the plant on the ground that it would affect irrigation supplies and drinking water requirements.

The former Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. V.K. Singh, and a retired IAS officer, M.G. Devasahayam, have been among those in the forefront of the agitation.

The protests have become more strident following the Fukushima incident in Japan.

The plant, located about 200 km from here, would have four indigenously developed pressurised heavy water reactors with a capacity of 700 MWe each.

In the first phase, two reactors will be set up. They have been included for funding during the 12 Five-Year Plan period.