Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said that Jaitapur nuclear project should be put on hold until a transparent nuke policy is formed. The Minister’s proposition is quite reasonable, but the point is why did he wake up to the reality so late? He should not have given go-ahead to the Jaitapur project in absence of clear nuclear policy. The project sparked off violence and protest and political parties too created much brouhaha over it. The violent protest claimed one person and paralysed normal life. This untoward situation could have been averted, had Jairam Ramesh not let the project go ahead before considering all aspects security arrangements. Human rights activists and environmentalists across the country have flocked in Jaitapur to take stock of the situation. It is beyond understanding that despite announcement for constituting a committee to look into the security measures of the project, why was the work started at Jaitapur all of a sudden? At least the Ministry for Environment should learn the fact that all other countries have reviewed their nuclear project after the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant started cataclysmic radiation. Many countries have stalled the work on nuclear project. Moreover, associations of environmentalists have started demanding for alternative of nuclear energy.

The demand of substitute for nuke energy does not look convincing, but the moot point is why didn’t the Minister remain stuck to his assurances in the context of security measures? Jairam Ramesh needs to reply. It is disappointing that the Minister has not been vacillating regarding different projects. Sometimes he terms the project a menace for the environment; sometimes he gives his node to it putting some conditions that patently indicates that the Ministry has no concrete policy. There is a dire need of reviewing the nuclear project after the Fukushima N-plant incidents, but it is too early to reach the conclusion that nuclear energy should be abandoned. It is palpable that the nuclear project has inherent risk factor, but the current situation is not like that the world should do away with nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is a prominent option for those which are battling with energy crisis. It is a need of the hour that government should not only make a concrete policy regarding nuclear project but also ensure high criteria for its security system. It is equally important that one should not take any political mileage in the strategically significant issue.