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Anti-nuclear protest resumes

Anger at 'fake promises' offered by prime minister over construction

Bijay Kumar Minj, New Delhi
India

October 10, 2011

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About 7,000 residents from a fishing village in Tamil Nadu state resumed their protest over ongoing construction of a nuclear plant after a meeting with the prime minister failed to address their concerns. A 12-member delegation comprising village leaders and social activists met Manmohan Singh over the weekend to discuss a halt to construction. Bishop Yuvon Ambroise of Tuticorin, a member of the delegation, said Singh agreed to appoint a panel of experts to study the matter. SP Udayakumar, convener of the People’s Movement against Atomic Power and a member of the delegation, said the meeting had proved disappointing and the prime minister had tried to stall protesters with “fake promises.” “We don’t want any panel. We want the entire project to be scrapped.” Last month thousands of fishermen along with Catholic priests and nuns staged a 12-day protest and hunger strike against construction of a nuclear plant at Koondankulam, a village in Tirunelveli district. The protest was halted after Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalitha Jayaram promised to press the federal government to halt work on the project. Udayakumar said the protest have not been politically motivated but instead are the result of fears by coastal Tamil Nadu residents of a nuclear disaster such as the one that struck at a nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan in March following an earthquake and tsunami. Nuclear Power Corporation of India is building two 1,000 megawatt reactors using Russian technology in Koondankulam. The first reactor is expected to go online in December. Bishop Ambroise said the Church “is not directly involved” in the protest but is “giving moral support.” Related reports: Fishermen call off anti-nuclear fast Protesters take aim at nuclear plant

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