Tension grips Koodankulam as protestors block scientists

Tirunelveli, October 14, 2011

Mounting pressure on the Centre to scrap the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), protesters blocked scientists, technicians and construction workers from entering the site, paralysing construction activities at the Indo-Russian joint venture for the second day today.

Police said 2000 protesters, a majority of them women, blocked the main road leading to the nuclear power plant at S.S.Puram intersection on the Kanyakumari-Tuticorin highway.

They blocked the buses carrying technocrats of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) from leaving their residential colony at Anu Vijay Township to go the the site of the power plant for routine works.

Vehicular traffic on the Kanyakumari-Tuticorin highway also came to a halt due to the blockade by the protesters.

"No one was allowed to go inside or come out from the nuclear plant site. The angry agitators were also seen chasing away the contract labourers when they came for construction activities. The situation was ''highly volatile, but under control'," said a police officer.

About 500 policemen were deployed near the nuclear plant under the direct supervision of Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police Vijayendra S Bidari to prevent any untoward incident.

Two "Vajra" riot control vehicles were also stationed near the site.

Inspector General of Police (South Zone) Rajesh Doss rushed to Kudankulam to take stock of the situation and held talks with the protestors to end the stalemate, police said.

Police forcibly evicted 20 physically handicapped men from a makeshift camp erected near the entrance of the plant, early this morning.

The physically handicapped men were attempting to stage a protest at the entrance of the plant.

Meanwhile, the indefinite hunger strike being observed by 106 people, including senior citizens, physically handicapped and women in front of St Lourdes Church at Idinthakarai coastal hamlet against the nuclear plant entered the sixth day today.

The residents of several villages around the KNPP stepped up their agitation after the authorities announced that one of the 2X1000 MW nuclear reactors would start generating power from the year end.

The residents are demanding that the Centre scrap the project, fearing any mishap at the plant could leading to radiation. They also fear displacement from their villages.


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