Koodankulam standoff: Agitators snub PM`s emissary
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Last Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 22:06
  
Koodankulam (TN): Stalemate over the controversial Koodankulam nuclear power project continued despite efforts by the Prime Minister's emissary to break the ice even as the indefinite fast by locals demanding scrapping of the project entered the tenth day on Tuesday.

Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy rushed here by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to allay the fears of the local population, up in arms against the project over safety concerns, visited the protest site and made efforts to hold discussions with the leaders but in vain.

"The people's sentiments are very strong. I will convey this to the Prime Minister before he goes abroad (tomorrow)," he told reporters at nearby Idinthakarai, the epicentre of the protests where 100-odd people are on indefinite fast.

High drama preceded his visit to the protest venue as the core group of agitators declined to meet him in Radhapuram area here, saying the invitation came at the eleventh hour and was conveyed through a junior village official.

"It was an insult to our sentiments. We were not respected. Hence we decided not to meet the Minister at Radhapuram," S V Udhayakumar, Convenor of the People's Movement against Atomic Power, said in the presence of Narayanasamy.

Citing the same grounds, Udhayakumar also said they have dropped the plans to meet Chief Minister Jayalalithaa tomorrow to discuss their demands. He made it clear that their protest would continue till the project was scrapped.

Narayanasamy said he would meet Jayalalithaa in Chennai tomorrow.

Meanwhile, anti-KNPP protesters said shops would be closed in Tirunelveli district tomorrow, and if there was no progress, the agitation would be intensified.

The protesters got a shot in the arm with social activist Medha Patkar extending support to the protest and blaming both central and state governments for construction of the nuclear plant.

"Clearance for the project site is given by the state, and the project is undertaken by the Centre. Both are responsible for the project," Patkar told reporters at Tirunelveli.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who had come to power only recently, should take an open and transparent attitude against the project without putting the blame on the Centre in order to escape people's "dissatisfaction", she said.

In West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had scrapped the Haripur nuclear project, she said, adding, she was happy that Jayalalithaa had taken cognisance of the ongoing fast and had now felt that government should have taken the view of the people.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 22:06


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