New Delhi: Russia has come out in support of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after he blamed several NGOs based in the US and Scandinavian countries for fuelling protests against the Moscow-aided Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu.
"The atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because these NGOs mostly, I think, based in the US, don`t appreciate the need for our country to increase energy. The local NGO-led protests have stalled the commissioning of two 1000 mw nuclear reactors," Singh was quoted as telling a Science journal.
Backing Indian PM’s remarks, Russian Ambassador to India Alexander M Kadakin said that his country had been suspecting the same all along.
Kadakin further described Kudankulam as “the best and the safest (nuclear power) station in the world”.
The Prime Minister’s tough remarks came days after media reports claimed that foreign agents were whipping up a campaign against the Rs 13,000-crore project located in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
The Russian-aided plant is expected to address the acute power shortage problem in the southern state. However, the project has landed into trouble waters due to massive protests by activists and the local villagers over safety concerns in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan early last year.
Despite a series of negotiations between the Central government-appointed expert panel and the protestors, the controversy over the Kudankulam nuclear project has refused to die down.
Meanwhile, Union Minister V Narayanasamy yesterday said three NGOs were found to be diverting foreign funds for the anti-nuclear campaign in Kudankulam.
Licences of three NGOs active in the Kudankulam region have been cancelled after a Home Ministry inquiry found that they were using funds meant for social causes to fuel the anti-nuclear protests.
"These NGOs were receiving funds from foreign countries for social service causes like helping the physically handicapped and eradication of leprosy but these were used for anti-nuclear protests," Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the PMO, said.