Jayalalithaa agrees to intercede on behalf of protesters
The ongoing protests against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu will be called off on Thursday.
The decision to call off the 11-day protest follows a meeting between representatives of the protesters, along with church officials, with chief minister J Jayalalithaa in Chennai. The 1,000 MW power plant is to be commissioned by the year-end and the protesters are demanding complete closure of the Indo-Russian project.
The chief minister agreed to ask for a temporary stop on the plant but said that closing down the plant permanently was not within her jurisdiction. The Centre would have to take a decision on this. The state cabinet will meet on Thursday and move a resolution demanding that the work at the plants be stopped till the fears among the public are allayed.
Earlier in the day, Jayalalithaa met representatives from the Department of Atomic Energy, the Kudankulam plant and V Narayanasamy, Union minister of state for Parliamentary Affairs who has been deputed by the prime minister to hold talks with the protesters.
“She (Jayalalithaa) told us that a delegation would be sent soon to meet the prime minister. We will be a part of this group,” says N Pushparayan of East Coast Research and Development, a Thoothukudi-based organisation working on coastal issues and peoples’ rights.
This delegation will have to wait till 27 September when the prime minister returns to India. Once he his back a team from the state led by finance minister O Panneerselvam would meet him and convey the concerns of people.
Meanwhile, Jayalalitha has asked the protesters to call off the strike. “We will stop for now but expect to see another protest soon asking the Centre to put an end to the project,” said Pushparayan.
On September 20, Narayanasamy had visited the protesters at Idinthakarai and heard their pleas on safety concerns. Later at a press conference, he said that the government considers human safety to be of paramount importance and that he would convey the demands of the protesters to the prime minister.
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