September 21st, 2011
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Koodankulam: Protestors end 11 day fast

koodamkulamChennai: The 11-day-old fast by villagers demanding the scrapping of the Koodankulam nuclear power project was called off today, after Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa agreed for a cabinet resolution to request 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. She appealed to antagonists of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), being implemented with Russian assistance, to give up their fast and called for cooperation of the public for the project. 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.

“The chief minister has requested us to call off the fast and we are doing it now,” S P Udhaya Kumar, convenor of People’s Movement against Atomic Power, spearheading the stir told reporters after his delegation met Jayalalithaa here. He said though the protestors promised to withdraw their indefinite fast, they will “continue to keep up the pressure on the government” to scrap the project, set to be commissioned in December, a decade after the work on it began.

“The committee will continue with the struggle in consultation with the AIADMK Government and the blessings of Amma (Jayalalithaa),” Kumar said. “We do not have any problem with the state government. But, we will continue to keep our pressure against the Centre,” he said, adding the meeting was ‘very cordial’.

Earlier, Narayanasamy held a series of meetings with Jayalalithaa and several senior officials over the last two days to resolve the issue. He also assured the protestors that safety measures at the under-construction plant were foolproof.

The breakthrough came after Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy called on Jayalalithaaa to brief her on his visit to the protest site yesterday after being rushed as the Prime Minister’s emissary in the wake of a strongly-worded letter by her demanding halting of the project work.

Narayanasamy said Jayalalithaa conveyed “certain message to the Prime Minister which I will convey to him.” He also said he had conveyed to Jayalalithaa the message from Singh who will take a final decision.

Kumar said the chief minister assured them that a cabinet meeting would be convened tomorrow to request the Centre to halt the project and the state Government would seek an appointment with the Prime Minister for a meeting on the issue.




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