(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) French President Francois Hollande, currently on a two-day visit to India, has been criticised by anti-nuclear activists here for pushing ahead with the Jaitapur Nuclear power plant in Maharashtra, while promising to shut down plants in his own country.
The activists reminded Hollande that in his election manifesto last year he had promised to close down all the nuclear plants in France. However, in India he was fully backing the Indo-French nuclear projet in Ratnagiri, about 500km south of here.
"The lives of human beings, whether in France or in India, are the same, and they are both precious," the anti-nuclear activists wrote in an open letter to the French president. Hollande was in Mumbai on Friday during the concluding leg of his visit to India.
Earlier on Thursday, the French President and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a joint statement reiterating their full commitment to the early execution of the 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear power project.
France was among the first to sign an agreement with India to put up a joint venture nuclear power plant. State-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and France's Areva signed the agreement to build six 1,650 MW nuclear units at Jaitapur. NPCIL planned to acquire about 10,000 hectares of land for the project.
However, local villagers and fishermen, besides anti-nuclear organisations launched a campaign against the project. The Shiv Sena, which about 20 years ago was opposed to the Enron power plant in the region - after coming to power with the BJP, it allowed Enron to enhance the capacity of the unit - also joined in the protests.