CHENNAI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sought Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa’s support yet again for completing the Kudankulam nuclear power project, which is being opposed by the locals citing safety issues. In a letter to Jayalalithaa, which was released to the media here, Singh said nothing will be done that would threaten the safety or livelihood of any section of society, particularly those living in the vicinity of a project.
Singh’s request comes in the wake of the Kudankulam villagers going on a second round of indefinite fast. Recalling that he had met the AIADMK delegation as requested by the chief minister, he said, “Apart from the safety and livelihood aspects, where the Government and the people are on the same side, I also took the opportunity to mention (to the delegation led by the state finance minister O Panneerselvam) that Tamil Nadu is one of the most industrialized States of the country whose power requirements are growing constantly.
Of the 2000 MWe power to be generated by Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project Units 1 and 2, the allocation of power to Tamil Nadu is 925 MW. In case the prospects of availability of this power are suddenly withdrawn this would impact on the state’s development and industrialization plans.” An all party delegation, headed by the state finance minister, met Singh last week and presented a memorandum to remove the fears of the locals before continuing with the project. “The delegation raised some technical issues. I conveyed to them that given the nature of the issues raised, it would not be possible to settle them at my meeting with them. I have offered that the Central Government will constitute a small group of experts to interact with the representatives of the people of the region to satisfy all their legitimate concerns. This exercise would suitably involve the Tamil Nadu government”, he said in the letter. Singh said he had separately directed the department of Atomic Energy to maintain close liaison with the local people, the local authorities and the state government.
“The government fully shares the concerns of the people of the area and will take all steps to allay their fears”, he said adding the central government attaches the highest importance to ensuring that the use of the nuclear energy in the country meets the highest safety standards.