KNPP protesters nominate members for expert panel

Tirunelveli: Making some headway towards resolution of the Koodankulam issue, anti-plant protesters on Tuesday decided to nominate two of their members in the expert committee to be set up by the Tamil Nadu government.

The protesters, however, made it clear that they would not hold talks with the 15-member committee set up by the Centre till the work at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) was stopped.

S P Udhayakumar, the movement's leader, told reporters here that the protesters had named Jesuraj and Pushparayan to be appointed to the committee when the Tamil Nadu government had asked them for their nominees.

Anti-KNPP activists had yesterday sought a clarification from the state government whether any work was being carried out at the plant even as they continued their stir demanding its closure.

Udhayakumar, who is also the convenor of People's Movement against Atomic Power, had wondered if any work was going on without the government's knowledge.

He said Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Srikumar Banerjee had stated that "minimum activity" is necessary to maintain the plant's "health" and future in view of the completion of the Hot Run (dummy fuel).

In that case, KNPP workers should be continuing with their work, unmindful of the protest and state cabinet's decision that work at the site should be stopped and taken up only after people were convinced about the plant's safety, he said.

Udhayakumar said the protesters would also hold a huge demonstration on November 5 at Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli in order to garner more support for the stir.

The demonstration would be carried out involving like-minded political parties and social groups, he said.

The Indo-Russian joint venture in Tirunelveli district has run into trouble following protests from locals demanding that the project be scrapped, citing safety concerns in the wake of the Fukushima disaster early this year.