Stir against Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu called off

United News of India

Chennai, September 21, 2011

The Anti-Nuclear Plant Movement, which launched an agitation, involving the local people against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu, today called off the 11-day stir after Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa assured them that she would urge the Centre to halt further work at the plant site.

Ms Jayalalithaa assured a delegation of the movement which called on her at the Secretariat this morning that the state cabinet would meet here tomorrow and adopt a resolution, urging the Centre to halt further work at the project site, and depute a delegation to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Mr Udhayakumar, who led the delegation, which comprised social activists, anti-nuclear activists and priests from local churches, said they had decided to call off the stir following the assurance given by the Chief Minister.

He said Ms Jayalalithaa assured the delegation that the cabinet would adopt a resolution and request the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to give an appointment to the state delegation to meet the Prime Minister on his return from the United States.

Mr Udhayakumar called on the Chief Minister along with other delegates after Ms Jayalalithaa appealed to the fasting activists to call off the stir, citing her September 19 dated letter to the Prime Minister, requesting him to halt further work on this project and allay the apprehensions of the locals.

Hundreds of residents of coastal hamlets around the plant at Koodankulam village in Tirunelveli district, had been observing relay and indefinite fasts for the past ten days.

About 15,000 people were observing a relay hunger strike since September 10 at Idinthakarai hamlet demanding that the Centre to shelve the KKNPP because of fears about possible radiation. Among them, as many as 127 people were observing indefinite fast since Sunday last.

They also expressed fear over possible displacement from their native places which, they allege, would affect their livelihood.

More than 40 fasting people were admitted to government hospitals at Tirunelveli and Nagercoil two days ago as their health condition had deteriorated.

The plant was ready to be commissioned when local people expressed apprehension in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

Ms Jayalalithaa, while taking up the matter with the Centre, had said that the isssue was creating a fear psychosis among the people and villages sorrounding Koodankulam and expressed surprise that no responsible Union Minister or concerned higher authorities had visited the people or even attempted to assuage their feelings.