Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Even as he assured ‘people’s safety first, power later’, hundreds of protesters were in no mood to hear him, prompting the minister to promise Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would decide whether to stop work on the nuclear plant.
The emissary of Singh, Narayanasamy, also held a meeting with the Tamil Nadu chief secretary Debendranath Sarangi over the issue. Later, he also met the people, who have been protesting installation of the nuclear plant.
Protesters’ committee to meet Jaya
A five-member committee of Koodankulam protestors will meet Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in Chennai on Wednesday over an upcoming nuclear power project in Tirunelveli district that is witnessing huge protests.
Jayalalithaa had earlier written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a halt to the project in the face of rising protests against it. Singh later spoke to the state chief minister.
Protest to continue: Medha
Pledging her support to the ongoing agitation against the Koodankulam nuclear project, social activist Medha Patkar on Tuesday said the protesting villagers have decided to continue their 10-day old fast till the state cabinet passed a resolution for stopping work on the project.
“The villagers (living in and around the project site) demand that the state cabinet pass a resolution for stopping the ongoing work and ensure the safety of the people and the natural resources. We completely support them,” she told a press conference in Chennai.
Patkar, speaking on her return from a visit to the protest venue near Koodankulam in Tirunelveli district, said the central government should show the same urgency on the Koodankulam issue as it attached to the Jan Lokpal Bill.
“When West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee could stop Haripur nuclear power plant, why not the Koodankulam plant (be halted)? Tamil Nadu government should also follow a similar approach,” she said.
Hitting out at Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa for sending two AIADMK leaders to express solidarity with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi during his three-day fast, Patkar said she had not bothered to depute even a single emissary to talk to the protesters.
While the villagers thanked Jayalalithaa for her steps, including writing a letter to the prime minister, she said they had decided to continue the fast until a resolution was passed by the cabinet.
“It is not a battle between Jayalalithaa and (Union Minister) Jayanti Natarajan but a battle between the people and the state,” she said referring to the chief minister’s charge that Natarajan had washed off her hands over the impasse.
Patkar, who is also the Convenor of National Alliance of People’s Movement, said an Inquiry Commission would be formed with eminent scientists to go into the impact of nuclear policy and power plants vis-a-vis the rights of people to know about the safety of such projects.
All norms in place: Russia
Terming as “unfortunate” the resistance to the commissioning of Indo-Russian joint venture, Russia on Tuesday said all safety norms have been taken into consideration in view of the Fukushima accident in Japan.
However, it ruled out that the on-going protests will have any influence on Indo-Russian cooperation in future.
“What is happening in Tamil Nadu is unfortunate. It looks like that the protests will shadow the commissioning of the plant which is going to happen in December,” Senior Counsellor Sergey V. Karmalito in the Russian Embassy told PTI in New Delhi.