December 19th, 2011
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Defensive Jayalalitha in the firing line

jayalalithaChennai: With chief minister J Jayalalithaa locking horns with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Kudankulam issue, hopes of an early end to the impasse are fading.While the Centre is keen to get the much-delayed 2,000MW nuclear project, vital to tide over the power deficit in Tamil Nadu, back on track, it cannot hope to break the ongoing agitation without the state government’s cooperation. Industries too have been demanding commissioning of the plant to bridge the power shortage that has hit their units.

But the state government is insisting that the fears of the villagers over the plant’s safety be allayed before any work resumes at the project site. The talks between protesters and a central panel have failed to make any headway.Union minister in the PMO V Narayanasamy’s statement that the state must take action against the protesters and reports that the Centre is investigating source of funding for NGOs involved in the agitation have only added to the acrimony.

Narayanasamy had said last week that groups involved in the ongoing protest against the nuclear power project are spending huge amounts of money but are not spelling out the source of funds or how they are being spent. He said notices were issued recently to those NGOs under the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act.

On Sunday, anti-nuclear protesters and villagers in and around Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district took out a rally, marking a renewed phase of protests against the Rs 14,000-crore power plant erected with Russian collaboration. Leading the protests at Radhapuram, about 10km from the project site, S P Udayakumar, convenor of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, warned that if the Centre failed to remove the uranium stocks at the nuclear plant by December 31, the stir would be intensified from January 2.

“The Prime Minister’s statement on operationalizing the nuclear power plant in a couple of weeks betrays the Tamil Nadu state cabinet’s resolution to halt the work at the plant. It is also very clear that the central government, the Department of Atomic Energy, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and the power project authorities have all been working on the Kudankulam reactors discreetly against the letter and spirit of the state cabinet resolution,” Udayakumar said.

He contended that if the nuclear reactor needs to be commissioned in a couple of weeks, nuclear fuel should have been loaded already in the plant. “We have planned to organise an anti- nuclear plant conference in Kanyakumari,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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