Chennai: Construction work at the controversial Koodankulam nuclear power plant has been stopped but essential maintenance activities are underway, Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said on Thursday.
He said the work on the first reactor was over but its commissioning slated for next month had been delayed by "some months" due to the agitation by the locals, who are demanding
the scrapping of the project raising safety concerns.
"Construction work at the plant has been stopped...but since maintenance work is important, our scientists and engineers are taking up the work. We have told the Chief Minister (Jayalalithaa) that maintenance work should be done and she has also accepted it," he told reporters here.
Narayanasamy said the Centre had accepted the Tamil Nadu Cabinet resolution and stopped the construction work besides setting up an experts committee to allay the fears of locals.
He said the committees set by the Centre as well as by the state government discussed various issues in their first meeting held in Tirunelveli earlier this week and replies to
the questionnaires given by the representatives of the agitators were being prepared.
"The committee representatives are educating the people. They will remove their fears.. The talks between the two are going on very smoothly and I hope that in the next meeting all
the isues will be resolved...There is every possibility of commissioning the plant in near future," he said.
Naranasamy, who was deputed by the Prime Minister at the height of the first phase agitation in September to pacify them, said there had been a marked change in the attitude of
the people of the state, especially from Koodankulam and were now supporting the plant.
"Some news channels who did surveys also found that the majority of the people are in favour of commissioning of the plant. I am sure that the agitating groups will see reason and
will come up to the expectations of the people," he said.
Referring to the visit of former president APJ Abdul Kalam to Koodankulam on Sunday last, he said after seeing the plant himself he had given a `certificate` vouching for its safety.