Chennai, (IANS) A team from the Indian nuclear establishment that met Tamil Nadu officials Monday went back with a positive feeling that the state government was looking at an early resolution of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) impasse.
“Our impression after today’s meeting with the chief secretary is that the state government is of the view that it is time to move ahead,” a member of the delegation, which met state’s Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi, told IANS preferring anonymity.
Villagers of Kudankulam, Idinthakarai and others close to the project in Tirunelveli district fear for their lives and safety in case of a nuclear accident.
Their agitation has put a stop to the project work, delaying the commissioning of the first unit slated last month.
Officials from the Indian nuclear establishment — A.P. Joshi, additional secretary, department of atomic energy, S.A. Bhardwaj, director (technical), Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd. (NPCIL), and couple of others — had a meeting with Sarangi here.
Also present at the meeting was the Tirunelveli District Collector M. Jayaraman.
“The Tirunelveli collector detailed the issues faced by the local people in the Kudankulam area and their needs. He spoke about the drinking water needs of the people there, the need for proper medical facilities and schools for the children there,” Bhardwaj told IANS.
He said the fishing community there would also like to have storage facilities for their catch.
According to Bhardwaj the chief secretary queried whether NPCIL could provide these to the local populace there and we answered in positive.
“These are part of NPCIL’s corporate social responsibility activities and we answered in affirmative. However, we said that the matter would be discussed at our head office and communication to this effect would be sent soon,” Bharadwaj said.
India’s nuclear power plant operator NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here.
The project, originally budgeted to cost Rs.13,171 crore, got initially delayed due to non-sequential deliveries of equipment from the Russian federation. The revised project cost is estimated to be around Rs.15,824 crore.
In order to resolve the issue related to protests against the project the central and state governments have formed two panels to allay the fears of the people.
As per plans, the multi-disciplinary central panel would meet the state panel and explain safety features and other aspects of the KNPP. The state panel will, in turn, allay the fears of the people.
The fourth round of the meeting was slated for Jan 31 at Tirunelveli.