TN govt talks to protestors against n-plant

Last Updated: Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 22:00

Tirunelveli (TN): As the indefinite fast by
over a hundred people against Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant
(KNPP) in the district entered its fifth day, Tamil Nadu
government on Thursday deputed three ministers to initiate talks
with the protestors.

Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Minister
Shanmuganathan, Labour Welfare Minister Chellapandian and
Khadhi and Village Industries Minister Chendur Pandian are
holding talks with P Udayakumar, Jayakumar and advocate
Sivasubramanian, who are spearheading the protest.
The talks began at the taluk office in Radhapuram assembly
constituency at about 4 pm. Tirunelveli District Collector,
Selvaraj had written yesterday night to Udayakumar, Jayakumar
and Sivasubramanian, urging them to hold conciliatory talks at
a particular place.

However, the trio had insisted that the Collector and other
officials hold the talks in front of the agitators itself,
sources said.

Meanwhile, one of the 127 agitators on fast on the issue,
Ganesan of Idinthakarai, was hospitalised after he fainted
today, police said.

The fast of the Radhapuram assembly constituency
representative, Michael Royappan, of the Desiya Murpokku
Dravidar Kazhagam (DMDK), also entered its second day today.
The MLA is observing the fast in support of the agitation.

In the talks that were held at the taluk office, the
ministers were accompanied by senior officials including the
District Collector and the Tiruvelveli Range Deputy Inspector
General of Police, M Varadharaju.

The KNPP project, undertaken in collaboration with Russia
envisages building of two 1,000 MW VVER type reactors by the
Nuclear Power Corporation of India in the coastal village of
Koodankulam.

The protests have intensified in the last few weeks after
the KNPP officials said the hot run (testing with dummy fuel)
of the first reactor, has reached the final stage and
commercial power production would begin in December.

On August 15, a meeting of the local village sabha at
Idinthakarai, which falls in the two km radius of the KNPP,
resolved that the plant should be shelved, citing safety
concerns and recent Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

While 127 people under the banner Confederation against
KNPP have been on the indefinite fast at Idinthakarai since
September 10, thousands of residents of surrounding villages
have been joining them in observing relay hunger strike.
For the fifth day today, fishermen of the area did not
put out to sea for fishing while students continued to
boycott schools.

Several political parties, the Federation of Traders
Association and local social organisations have extended their
support to the protest.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 22:00

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