The State Cabinet's resolution backing the early commissioning of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) evoked mixed reactions from political parties and civil society organisations on Monday.
In a statement here, TNCC president B.S. Gnanadesikan said the Cabinet's resolution to support the project was good news and the two plants should be made operational as early as possible. Stating that he had been emphasising that the Centre and State governments should work together on the project, he said the TNCC would insist that the Centre provide, if possible, more than 1,000 MW from the plants to the State.
Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder S. Ramadoss, in a statement, said the State government has betrayed the locals living around the Kudankulam nuclear plants. Residents of 18 villages were on a continuous protest for over 250 days and the Cabinet, led by the Chief Minister, lending moral support to the struggle, had passed a resolution on September 22 last year halting work in the plants till the apprehensions of the locals were cleared.
Claiming that the expert committees of the Centre and the State never met the protesters even once, but prepared the report sitting in air-conditioned rooms, he condemned the State government's approval to open the plants.
It was a drama enacted together by the Centre and State, he said, accusing the Chief Minister of patiently waiting till the by-election to the Sankarankoil Assembly constituency was over and announce her support to the nuclear project the day after. Charging that the State was resorting to repressive measures using the police force to scuttle the peoples struggle, Dr. Ramadoss asked her not to turn Kudankulam into a Nandigram or Singur.
People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) – Tamil Nadu and Puducherry has demanded the immediate withdrawal of police force from Idinthakarai and urged the State to resume the dialogue with the villagers and desist from using force and unleashing repression.
PUCL, Tamil Nadu-Puducherry, condemned the police action against peaceful protesters, terming it illegal and arbitrary.
The State government had been holding discussions with the protesting villagers, but did not bother to inform them about its final decision. More than 5,000 armed police were moved in early on Monday, encircling Idinthakarai and neighbouring villagers. It was a wholly unnecessary show of police might against peaceful, unnamed demonstrators.
Greenpeace, the environmental watchdog, condemned the arrests. In a statement, its representative Karuna Raina said the locals were hopeful that the Chief Minister would stand by them and help address their valid concerns. This undemocratic crack down must stop, he said.
Keywords: Kudankulam project