Kudankulam protests end after Jayalalithaa assurance
Wednesday September 21, 2011 06:01:56 PM,
Chennai: The protest
against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu
was called off Wednesday following an assurance by Chief Minister
J. Jayalalithaa that the cabinet would pass a resolution taking
into account the fears of the people.
"The chief minister assured us that a resolution of the cabinet
will be passed taking into account our views on the Kudankulam
power project. We also urged her to take up with the centre the
issue of a comprehensive energy policy for the nation," M.
Pushparayan, convenor of the Coastal People's Federation, told
"Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa agreeing to the request of the
representatives of the protestors has agreed to convene a meeting
of the cabinet Sep 22 and pass a resolution not to continue with
the project work till the fears of the Kudankulam people are
allayed," a government statement issued here said.
According to the statement, a delegation headed by Finance
Minister O. Pannerselvam would submit a memorandum to Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh after his return from New York Sep 27.
Jayalalithaa would also speak to the prime minister over phone.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two
1,000 MW capacity nuclear power reactors with Russian technology
and equipment in Kudankulam in Tirunelvelli district, about 650 km
from here. The first unit is expected to go on stream this
Pushparayan said the chief minister also agreed to withdraw the
cases filed against the protestors.
Members of the anti-KNPP movement met Jayalalithaa here Wednesday
"We have called off the protest. But it will be effective from
Thursday," he added.
According to him, Jayalalithaa told the delegation that nuclear
energy comes under the purview of the central government.
However, she assured that a cabinet resolution would be passed to
stop the project at least temporarily.
"The chief minister also invited us to be a part of the all-party
delegation that would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later,"
Before meeting the protestors, Jayalalithaa met union Minister of
State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy to discuss
Narayanasamy had been deputed by Singh to meet the protestors
within hours of Jayalalithaa writing to him that further work on
the KNPP be stopped.
Narayanasamy told reporters after his meeting with the chief
minister: "The chief minister has conveyed a message to the prime
minister. I will convey it to him."
NPCIL officials say they are baffled by the sudden and massive
protests against the project in Kudankulam as construction had
been going for the past 10 years.
More than 125 people had been on indefinite fast for the past 11
days with several thousands visiting the protest site at
Idinthakari near Kudankulam.
S.P. Udayakumar of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy
told IANS: "For the past 10 years, people were aware about the
dangers of the plant. But, seeing the fate of the nuclear plant in
Fukushima in Japan after the tsunami, people have become more
knowledgeable about the dangers posed by these plants."
He said the safety drill implemented by the KNPP for the villagers
some time ago - closing the nose and mouth tightly, running inside
the homes and other such steps - brought the issue to flashpoint.
The other factor for the protests was the fishing ban within a
500-metre radius of the power plant, which upset the fishing
community, he said.
He also said the movement has no backing of any political party.
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