Chennai: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s tough message that the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant cannot be allowed to remain "idle" and would be commissioned in a couple of weeks drew sharp reaction from anti-Nuclear protestors who threatened to intensify their stir from New Year.
On the way back from Moscow, Singh said there is a growing
view which he also shared that the agitation against the
Russian-aided project has been "overdone" and "we cannot
simply let it (the plant) idle", pointing that Rs 14,000 crore
had been sunk on it.
Echoing the Prime Minister`s view on the commissioning of
the project, Home Minister P Chidambaram said in Chennai the
Centre would take all steps to commission the project.
"By removing the fears of the locals and their doubts,
the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project will definitely be
commissioned. Government will take all steps to implement the
project", Chidambaram said at a function here to celebrate
Congress President Sonia Gandhi`s 66th birthday.
Minister of State in the PMO, V Narayanaswamy, asked the
Tamil Nadu government to act against the protestors since
cases have already been filed. "Why hasn`t the state
government acted against the protestors (despite filing
cases)?", he asked, speaking to reporters here.
Criticising the protestors` for preventing scientists
from proceeding to work in the plant, he also expressed the
Centre`s willingness to hold talks with them.
Unhappy over Singh`s statement, anti-KNPP protestors, who
held an emergency meeting at Tirunelveli, set December 31 as
the deadline for the Centre to remove the uranium kept in the
plant or else face "intensified agitation".
"Prime Minister`s comments are highly condemnable. We
demand that the Centre take uranium away from the site before
Dec 31, or else we will intensify our protests further from
January 1", M Pushparayan, a representative of the protestors
in the State government-appointed committee to hold talks with
the Central panel over the issue,said.
Pushparayan said over 10,000 people would take part at a
rally from Koodankulam to Radhapuram on Sunday to condemn
Udayakumar, coordinator of the People`s Movement of
Nuclear Energy, spearheading the protests, said the PM`s
remarks indicated that work was going on "secretly" at the
"This is against Tamil Nadu assembly resolution demanding
halting of the work at the plant till the people`s fears are
allayed," he said.
The protests against the project have delayed the
commissioning of the first unit which was originally scheduled
for this month with no end still in sight to the stand-off.