Chennai: As the ball lay in Tamil Nadu Government`s court on breaking the impasse over Kundankulam nuclear power plant, a team of anti-nuke protestors on Wednesday met Chief Minister Jayalalithaa conveying their safety concerns
and pitching for turning it into a natural gas-based project.
Emerging from a 15-minute meeting with Jayalalithaa at the
Secretariat, People`s Movement Against Nuclear Energy Convenor
SP Udayakumar, who led a four-member delegation, said they
told her that the Indo-Russian KNPP was not 100 per cent safe
and they pinned `high hopes` on her decision.
The meeting came a day after a four-member expert
committee set up by the state government submitted its report
to Jayalalithaa amid indications it had given a clean chit for
the project stalled by the prolonged protests by the locals.
Udayakumar, whose outfit is spearheading the stir, replied
in the negative when asked by reporters whether the Chief
Minister gave any direct or indirect warning to call off the,
protest which has delayed commissioning of the first reactor
originally scheduled for December last year.
This was the second interaction between the anti-KNPP
protestors and the Chief Minister since the protests broke out
in August last.
As the focus remained on the approach of the Jayalalithaa
government, grappling with severe power shortage, DMK chief M
Karunanidhi hit out at it accusing it of extending "silent
support" to the protest.
"...to the question if the government is supporting it
(stir) or criticising it, (one can say) it is extending silent
support," he said at a function here.
He said the state government had failed in its duty to
allay the fears of the people by creating awareness.
Udayakumar said Jayalalithaa gave a "patient hearing" and
assured them that she would go through the books and reports
that they had submitted. "She did not give any other views."
Asked whether the protests would continue if the state
government went ahead with commissioning of the project,
Udayakumar said, "I do not want to answer speculations."
"What action the Chief Minister takes..We have hopes on
her. Chief Minister is for the people. She has said her
government is for the people. Likewise, common people are
relying on her...We are returning with high hopes," he said.
Udayakumar said that the delegation members placed their
viewpoints on the safety aspects of the plant also urged the
Chief Minister to visit the area and meet the people.
He said they expressed their displeasure over the state
appointed panel headed by Prof S Iniyan visiting the plant
only for two hours and submitting its report without meeting
the protestors` expert committee members or the local people.
Charging the Centre with portraying the protest as being
funded by foreign sources, Udayakumar said, "Neither I nor
anyone among the protestors have any link with any foreign
countries or agencies.
"Centre is waging a psychological war against us by
arresting foreigners, freezing NGOs` accounts and running a
false propaganda that we are funded by them," he charged.
Apparently referring to the remarks of Iniyan that the
plant structures could withstand earthquakes of 6.5 magnitude
and tsunami, he said they were not bothered only about the
buildings and concerned about routine emissions from the plant
as that would affect the people.
It would be difficult to evacuate 15 lakh people residing
in the 30 km radius area around the plant in the event of any
eventuality, he said.
He also joined issue with the Centre on the deportation of
German national Sonneteg Reiner Hermann for his alleged
involvement in their protests, seeking to know why he was not
arrested and prosecuted if he had done something wrong.
"Why didn`t they charge, arrest him and prosecute him. Why
did they deport him secretly," he said.