Tension at Idinthakarai near the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, where the anti-nuclear energy protesters are camping, eased considerable following the withdrawal of police personnel from vantage points and reduction in their strength in and around Kudankulam.
A considerable part of the police deployment on the two roads leading to Idinthakarai via Vairavikinaru and Vijayapathi has been withdrawn since Wednesday night. A huge posse of police personnel, camping at Vairavikinaru and Tsunami Colony, has also been withdrawn.
Only a part of the police force that was deployed on March 19, when the Tamil Nadu Cabinet passed a resolution favouring the commissioning of the nuclear power plant, was present on Thursday morning.
Similarly, police personnel deployed at Vijayapathi, who were trying to prevent media personnel from entering Idinthakarai since Tuesday evening, has been withdrawn. All the shamianas and barricades have been removed. However, blockades created by the protesters remained on both the roads.
District Collector R. Selvaraj said that the police force was initially mobilised in strength fearing a law and order problem. If the situation warranted, the force could be mobilised in seven to eight hours.
Two ration shops that remained closed at Idinthakarai since Monday following the renewed protest were opened on Thursday following the Collector's assurance.
“Though the two shops at Idinthakarai remained open on Thursday, there were no buyers as the anti-KKNPP struggle committee has asked the protesting villagers not to buy anything from the ration shop,” said Mr. Selvaraj.
His efforts ensured the restoration of bus services on the Kanyakumari-Tiruchendur Highway after four days. However, the villagers of Tsunami Colony complained about the withdrawal of services connecting their village with Kanyakumari, Nagercoil and Tiruchendur and wayside villages, including Idinthakarai.
Sahaya Initha, a panchayat union councillor, complained that private tankers supplying drinking water (Rs.2.50 a pot) were not coming to the village for the last four days after the police stopped them.