TN govt talks to protestors against n-plant
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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.


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

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