Surroundings of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), the hotbed of anti-nuclear plant struggle till recently, is witnessing an intense race between village panchayat presidents to get their ‘due share' from the Tamil Nadu government's Rs. 500-crore special package for creating additional facilities around the upcoming nuclear power plant site.

After the State government, giving its nod for resuming the stalled work at the KKNPP site, announced that development activities and strengthening of existing infrastructure would be taken up in village panchayats around the KKNPP site on an outlay of whopping Rs. 500 crore, for which the Chief Secretary has already given his consent, village panchayat heads of thirteen grassroots-level rural local bodies submitted their wish list to Collector R. Selvaraj.

Village panchayat heads of Uvari, Kooththankuzhi, Vijayapathi and Koodankulam, who once vociferously supported the anti-KKNPP struggle, wanted a lion's share in the package.

Panchayat presidents of Levingipuram, Chettikulam, Koodankulam, Vijayapathi, Kooththankuzhi, Uvari, Kuttam, Karaisuttru Uvari, Navvaladi, Parameshwarapuram, Thiruvambalapuram, Udhayaththur and Irukkanthurai submitted a list of schemes to be implemented in their villages with the assistance to be released from the special package.

Even as officials here started working on approving projects from the wish lists, heads of three town panchayats and a good number of village panchayats, all falling within 30-km radius from the KKNPP site, came to the Collectorate on Tuesday evening with their lists.

“As per the standard procedure, the KKNPP administration has to conduct the disaster management drill in all hamlets falling within 30-km radius from the KKNPP. Since all our villages (affiliated to 45 village panchayats and 3 town panchayats) are located within this zone, we firmly believe that we are also eligible to receive this assistance and hence we submitted our wish list to the Collector,” said president of Aavaraikulam panchayat, A. Bhaskar, who has demanded repairs to Sungaan Odai near Panagudi to divert water to Poigai Dam, a dedicated powerline from Pattamadai to Aavaraikulam to ensure uniform power supply for the Thamirabharani–Panagudi–Thisaiyanvilai drinking water project, Tiruchendur–Koodankulam–Kanyakumari rail connectivity.

Chairman of Valliyoor Town Panchayat T.T.N. Lawrence said all local bodies falling within 30-km radius should be considered for implementing development works under this special package.

Receiving petitions from the heads of village panchayats and the town panchayats District Collector R. Selvaraj assured them that he would consider their pleas.