Koodankulam standoff: Agitators snub PM`s emissary

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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