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Koodankulam protesters nominate 2 members for expert panel

Tirunelveli: The anti-plant protesters today decided to nominate two of their members in the expert committee to be set up by the Tamil Nadu government. The move may help in resolving the Koodankulam issue.

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 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.

 Koodankulam protesters nominate 2 members for expert panel

The disputed site at Koodankulam.

Anti-KNPP activists had on Monday 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 5 November 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.

In Chennai, DMDK leader Vijaykant slammed the Centre for "complicating"  the Koodankulam stand-off and said it should take all efforts to solve the issue through talks.

"Union Minister of State V Narayanasamy's recent (reported) remarks that the protestors were taking to the route of violence by blocking plant employees from proceeding to work gives room to apprehensions whether the Centre wants to deal this issue as a law and order matter," he said.

Vijaykanth, the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, expressed fears that the Centre, instead of solving the issue, was planning to turn it into a law and order issue and deal it with "oppression."

"It is well-known that scores of protestors including children have been peacefully protesting. Centre should realise this and solve the matter through dialogue with them.

It is condemnable that Centre is complicating the matter further by delaying it," he said in a statement.

He said that all efforts should be taken by the Centre on the lines of the state government resolution, calling for allaying people's fears before proceeding with the Indo-Russian joint venture.

PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 01, 2011 17:10:34 IST