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Home News Power Sector News Protestors at Koondakulam Nuclear plant site call off fast

Protestors at Koondakulam Nuclear plant site call off fast

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Breaking the logjam trKoodankulamiggered by the mass protests against the Koodankulam nuclear power project, the Jayalalithaa Government today succeeded in ending the 11-day old fast with an assurance that the state cabinet would pass a resolution urging the Centre to halt the project.

The breakthrough came during a meeting between a delegation of the core group of protesters and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, held a day after Prime Minister's emissary V Narayanasamy made efforts to defuse the situation arising out of growing protests by villagers and fishermen.

"The Chief Minister has requested us to call off the fast and we are doing it," S P Udhaya Kumar, Convener of People's Movement against Atomic Power, spearheading the stir, told reporters after the meeting with Jayalalithaa.

Conceding their demand, Jayalalithaa told the delegation, "the Cabinet will be convened on September 22 and it will adopt a resolution (urging the Centre) to not to go ahead with the works on the plant site till the people's fears are removed," a government statement said.

Assuring the delegation that she would talk to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his return from the US on September 27, she said a delegation headed by Finance Minister O Panneerselvam will also submit a memorandum to him, it said.

Kumar said despite withdrawal of their fast, "we will continue to keep up the pressure on the Central Government" to scrap the project, set to be commissioned in December, a decade after the work on it began.

Minister of State in the PMO Narayanasamy, who rushed to the protest site in Tirunelveli District yesterday, briefed Jayalalithaa on his visit besides conveying the Prime Minister's message on the issue to her. "...the Chief Minister conveyed certain message for the Prime Minister which I will carry to him," he told reporters.

Kumar, who was accompanied by a delegation of Christian priests and others numbering over 15, said "The committee will continue the struggle in consultation with the AIADMK Government and the blessings of Amma (Jayalalithaa)."

"We do not have any problem with the state government. But, we will continue to keep our pressure on the Centre," he said, adding the meeting with Jayalalithaa was 'very cordial'.

He said the formal end to the fast by 127 people in Idinthakarai village would take place tomorrow.

Asked why the protests were being held a decade after the the project got underway, he said apprehensions came about after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster recently and many countries coming out against nuclear energy.

Acting swiftly on a strongly-worded letter from Jayalalithaa accusing the Centre of 'abdicating its responsibilities', Prime Minister spoke to her over phone and deputed Narayanasamy to allay the fears of the protesters over the safety aspects relating to the project.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) Chairman SK Jain, Additional Secretary in Department of Atomic Energy A P Joshi and KNPP Director M Kasinath Balaji were also present when Narayanasamy met Jayalalithaa.

The Chief Minister too had initially vouched for the plant's safety, detailing the safety parameters installed and argued that on completion the state would receive 924 mw of power from the plant set up as a Indo-Russian joint venture.

The protests have intensified in the last few weeks after the project officials said the hot run (testing with dummy fuel) of the first reactor, has been completed and commercial power production would begin in December.

On August 15, a meeting of the local village sabha at Idinthakarai, which falls in the two km radius of the project site, resolved that the plant should be shelved, citing safety concerns and recent Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Source- Indian Express


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