Calls upon State to stand by Centre in its efforts to make project functional

Union Minister for Shipping G.K. Vasan has called upon the State government to keep the anti-Kudankulam nuclear power project activists under check.

Unveiling the bronze statue of veteran Dalit leader and former president of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee L. Ilayaperumal (1924-2005) at Kattumannarkoil near here on Saturday, Mr. Vasan said electricity had become scarce as the duration of power cut in the State went up sharply, affecting people in all walks of life.

It was hoped that when the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project became operational the power situation in the State would improve but it was not to be as the agitation of the anti-nuclear project activists were holding up the commissioning of the plant. Had the project been allowed to function, the power crisis in the State could have been eased to a certain extent.

Mr. Vasan called upon the State government to support the Centre in its efforts to make the Kudankulam project functional.

Mr. Vasan said that Ilayaperumal was a respected leader of the Dalit community who devoted his life for their uplift.

He worked with zeal to eradicate the malaise of untouchability and poverty, and, to accomplish the goal he pursued the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi.

He said that it was a matter of honour that when he (Mr. Vasan) was holding the post of TNCC president, Ilayaperumal rejoined the Congress. Mr. Vasan stated with pride that it was owing to the infusion of the Dalit youth in the Congress that the movement was kicking alive in Tamil Nadu for the past 45 years.

Vivid account

He gave a vivid account of the Congress' contributions to the uplift of the Dalit community and how the Dalit leaders such as Jagjivan Ram, Sanjeevaiaha, Kakkan, K.R. Narayanan and Meira Kumar (now Lok Sabha Speaker) found ample space in the Congress and the party-led governance.

Mr. Vasan was hopeful of finding solutions to the vexatious issues such as the displacement of the Sri Lankan Tamils, Mullaperiyar dam and Tamil Nadu fishermen facing problems at the hands of the Sri Lankan Navy.

Referring to the observation of former MP Vallal Peruman that of late the Dalits did not find favour with the Congress, TNCC president B.S. Ganandesikan said that the party always remained in the forefront in safeguarding the rights of the Dalits.

No other movement had taken up their cause as avidly as the Congress. Mr. Gnanadesikan said that on issues pertaining to Tamil people the Congress would always take a stand that would fully reflect their sentiments so as to protect their interests.