PM cautions Jaya on n-power plant stir

New Delhi: As protestors stepped up anti- Kudankulam nuclear power plant agitation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has cautioned Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa that the state`s development plans would be hit in absence of power from it. The Prime Minister also said that he looked forward to Jayalalithaa`s continuing support for the Kudankulam project in Tamil Nadu.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Singh apprised her of his meeting with an all-party delegation from the state last week during which demands for stoppage of work on the 2000 MWe Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, being built in collaboration with Russia, were made. "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 that Tamil Nadu is one of the most industrialised states of the country whose power requirements are growing constantly," he said.

"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 MWe. In case the prospects of availability of this power are suddenly withdrawn this would impact on the state`s development and industrialisation plans," Singh said in the letter.

The Prime Minister`s letter comes in the backdrop of protestors` plans of intensifying the agitation by launching an indefinite fast to press their demand for scrapping the Indo-Russian project. Singh said that his Government will not compromise on safety in the pursuit of the nuclear energy programme, be it is in terms of technology, regulation, skilled manpower or emergency preparedness. .

Singh said that the central government attached the highest importance to ensuring that the use of nuclear energy in the country met the highest safety standards. "The Government fully shares the concerns of the people of the area and will take all steps to allay their fears," he said. Singh said he had told the delegation that nothing would be done that would threaten the safety or livelihood of any section of society, particularly those living in the vicinity of a project.

He said he had offered to the delegation to set up a small group of experts to interact with the representatives of the people of the region to satisfy their legitimate concerns and this would suitably involve the Tamil Nadu government. "I have separately directed the Department of Atomic Energy to maintain close liaison with the local people, the local authorities and the state government," Singh said. This is Prime Minister`s second letter to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister with regard to the Kundankulam project in a span of eight days. The previous letter was written on October four.