N-power plant project:Jaya fires fresh salvo

Chennai: Blaming the Centre`s "inaction" for the stalemate over the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant issue, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today said her government was firm on suspension of the work on the controversial project till people`s concerns were addressed. In a strongly-worded statement, she slammed the Centre for doing little to allay the fears of the locals who have threatened to intensify their agitation demanding closure of the Indo-Russian joint venture citing safety concerns.

Jayalalithaa took exception to Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanswamy`s statement that the Centre was still awaiting state government`s response on the composition of the expert committee, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised to send to allay the fears of the locals, causing delay.

Describing Narayanaswamy`s remarks as "a deliberate attempt to put the blame on state government", she said the minister who was sent as an emmissary of the Prime Minister to meet the agitators had not taken any steps to allay their fears. "One doubts if the Centre is working with the intention of blaming the state government (over the stalemate). The people are forced to take to protests including hunger strike since the Centre has not suspended work at the power plant," she said, She said the Centre should take all steps to solve the issues and "stop unnecessarily blaming the state government. "The Centre has not taken any action despite assurances from the Prime Minister," she said recalling Singh`s assurance on the expert panel to the multi-party delegation led by Finance Minister O Panneerselvam during their meeting recently.

She said she had not received the two letters written by Singh on this issue though it was reported in the media. As a third time Chief Minister this was a "new experience," for her that though the Prime Minister claimed that he had written to her, she "had not received them but the content of which was reported in the media," Jayalalithaa said.

The Chief Minister said she was determined that the work on the power project was put on hold till people`s fears were allayed.