Chennai: The relay fast against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) set up in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu continued for the 50th day Tuesday, with former naval chief L Ramdas present at the venue, an activist said.
In their third phase of the struggle against the KNPP, villagers in Tirunelveli and other neighbouring districts are participating in the relay fast being held at Idinthakarai village near Kudankulam, around 650 km from here.
"Today (Tuesday) is the 50th day of the relay fast protest at Idinthakarai. Former Indian Navy chief Ramdas and his wife are present at the venue. The relay fast protest began Oct 18," M Pushparayan, convener of the Coastal People`s Federation and a leader of People`s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), said.
India`s nuclear power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors at Kudankulam.
Villagers fear for their lives and safety in case of any nuclear accident and the long-term impact the nuclear plant would have on the population.
Their agitation from Aug 16 has put a stop to the project work, thereby delaying the commissioning of the first unit by several months and increasing the project cost from the budgeted Rs.13,171 crore.
"People from Panchal, Idinthakarai and Kudankulam are participating in today`s fast. A procession will also be held in Idinthakarai," S. Sivasubramanian, coordinator of the People`s Rights Movement, an organisation fighting for the plant`s closure, said.
Meanwhile, the expert panel constituted by PMANE will submit its report to the Tamil Nadu government shortly.
"Our panel members are now studying the 38-page report given by the central government-appointed expert group," said Pushparayan.
With the anti-KNPP agitation growing, the central and state governments had formed two panels on the issue. The state panel has the representatives of the PMANE that is spearheading the movement against the nuclear plant.
As per plans, the central panel would meet the state panel and explain the safety features and other aspects of the KNPP. The state panel will, in turn, allay the fears of the people.
The central government-appointed panel members are planning to meet in three weeks to discuss the issues raised by the protestors and villagers.
"The issues were raised by them during our second meeting with the state government appointed panel," AE Muthunayagam, convenor of the 15-member expert panel on the KNPP, said.