To seek suspension of work on Kudankulam project

An official delegation led by Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam and comprising representatives of some political parties and activists in Tamil Nadu left on Thursday evening for New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday and seek suspension of work on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project.

The delegation will submit a memorandum seeking suspension of the project until the apprehensions of the local population, especially fishermen, about the safety of the nuclear project are fully addressed.

The State government adopted a Cabinet resolution to this effect and a fast by fisherfolk and local residents at Idinthakarai in the vicinity of the project in Tirunelveli district was called off.

Besides Mr. Panneerselvam, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MPs V. Maithreyan and M. Thambidurai and the State government's Special Representative in New Delhi, A. Asokan, All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi (AISMK) president R. Sarathkumar, MLA, and Manikantan of the Uzhavar Uzhaippalar Katchi were part of the delegation that left by an evening flight to Delhi.

Activists who oppose the KKNPP are also in the delegation. S.P. Udhayakumar, the coordinator of last month's protests, and the Rt. Rev. Yvon Ambroise, Bishop of Tuticorin Roman Catholic Diocese, were part of the team. However, not all major parties figured in the invitation as, according to them, they had got no formal invitation from the government.

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K. V. Thangkabalu said that he would leave for the capital on Friday and join the delegation there.

The Communist Party of India is likely to be represented by its National Secretary D. Raja but CPI (M) sources said there was no formal invitation from the government. Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S Ramadoss said that his party was not invited to join the delegation.

Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) MLA S Michael Rayappan, who represents Radhapuram constituency, under which the project falls, said he wanted to join the delegation, but could not do so because there was no invitation from the government.

The decision to send the delegation was announced on September 19 by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in a letter to the Prime Minister drawing his attention to the protests against the KKNPP and the fears of the residents, especially in the aftermath of the Fukushima radiation crisis in Japan. She wanted work on the project to be halted until the people's fears were allayed.