Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tamil Nadu govt gives green signal for KNPP

In an apparent U-turn forced by acute power crisis, Tamil Nadu govt on Monday gave its go ahead to the controversial Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, ending months of impasse that threatened the Indo-Russian venture.

Meeting a day after the bypoll to Sankarankoil Assembly seat in Tirunelveli district, where the plant is located, the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, gave the green signal to the project which ran into trouble after locals protested against its commissioning, citing safety concerns.

At the height of the protests, the state cabinet had in September last passed a resolution, seeking a halt to work in the plant site till people's fears were allayed.

However, signs of her softening stand were visible when she appointed a state panel, comprising former Atomic Energy Commission chairman M R Srinivasan, a strong votary of nuclear energy.

Monday’s cabinet meeting, a move aimed at mollifying the locals, also announced a Rs 500 crore special development package for the area to construct houses, cold storage facility for fishermen and laying of roads.

"In accordance with (today's) cabinet decision, immediate steps will be taken (to facilitate commissioning) of the plant," Jayalalithaa said in a five-page statement, breaking her silence over the issue.

S P Udayakumar, convenor of People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the protests, described the AIADMK government's decision as unfortunate and said the stir would continue even as some of them were arrested.

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