TN will suffer if N-project goes, PM warns Jaya

Written by fe Bureau | Chennai/New Delhi | Updated: Oct 13 2011, 10:28am hrs
In an unusual move, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has reiterated his determination to push ahead with the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu, despite opposition from state chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

For the second time in 10 days, Singh wrote to Jayalalithaa on Wednesday reminding her of the effect a possible shutdown of the plant would have on the states development.

In return, Singh has restated his offer to set up a small group of experts to interact with the representatives of the people of the region to satisfy their legitimate concerns. Development of nuclear power has consistently received Singhs top priority, both in his current term and in the earlier UPA government.

The Prime Minister hopes the letter will encourage the AiaDMK government in the state to distance itself from the agitation against the Indo-Russian joint venture. The state government, after initially supporting the project, moved to oppose it late last month. Protests around the project have been on since mid-September despite repeated efforts by the Centre.

Singh wrote: Apart from the safety and livelihood aspects, where the government and the people are on the same side, I (take) the opportunity to mention that Tamil Nadu is one of the most industrialised states of the country whose power requirements are growing constantly.

Of the 2,000 MWe power to be generated by the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, Tamil Nadu will get 925 MWe. In case the prospects of availability of this power are suddenly withdrawn, this would impact on the states development and industrialisation plans, Singh noted.

Singh also 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. The plant is to be built on 2,800 acres in the state.

Singhs letter comes after he met an all-party delegation from Tamil Nadu on Friday, telling them that all safety concerns would be attended to. The agitators have threatened an indefinite fast to force scrapping of the project.