Tirunelveli: The committees set up by the
Centre and Tamil Nadu Government to resolve the standoff over
the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant met here on Tuesday for the
first time when representatives of the protesters presented a
charter of demands including a paper on plant`s status.
Emerging from the hour-long first round of talks held at
the Collectorate here between the 15-member experts committee
set up by the centre and six-member state panel, two members
of the movement described the talks as satisfactory.
The movement also presented a memorandum containing 50
questions and seeking various documents relating to the site
selection and evaluation report and environmental safety
analysis, M Pushparayan and Jesuraj told reporters.
They said talks could not be started without any document
and demanded that they be given the reports besides replies to
They demanded a white paper saying officials were creating
a scare among the people by stating that continued halt of the
work would affect the plant while former president APJ Abdul
Kalam after his visit to KNPP vouched for its safety.
Contradictory opinions were being expressed by the experts
about the safety of the plant. "It is the Government`s duty to
clarify all this... Our immediate request is that some sort of
fear is in the minds of the people and it should be cleared,"
The talks were held two days after the visit of Kalam when
he suggested a Rs 200 crore 10-point action plan for the
development of the area and asked officials to allay the fears
of the people, who are demanding scrapping of the project.
The centre set up the panel after a delegation of the
anti-KNPP movement leaders met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
in New Delhi last month.
The Rs 13,600 crore project, whose first unit (1000 MW)
was scheduled to be commissioned in December, has run into
trouble following protests from locals who are demanding that
it be scrapped on grounds of safety in the wake of the
Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March.
Pushparayan also pointed out to the resolution adopted by
the state cabinet on September 22 last urging the Prime
Minister to order suspension of the work at the plant till the
people`s concerns were addressed.
"The Chief Minister is not a naive person. She would have
consulted the experts in the field before passing such a
resolution," he said adding the resolution should be honoured.
The movement leaders said they also suggested to the
Central Government committee members to directly hold talks
with the people living in the 30-km radius of the plant and
clear all their fears.
However, the committee members turned it down saying it
was not possible to hold talks with such a large number of
people following which the two asked them to engage in
dialogue with the 21-member expert panel set up by the
They also said tripartite talks could be held with people
and assured to give all protection to the committee members.
Pushparayan and Jesuraj said they also sought to know the
understanding reached between India and Russia on the issue of
compensation in the event of an accident at the site.
"We should not be left in the lurch like the Bhopal gas
victims", another leader of the movement said.