Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said the agitation against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu has been ‘overdone’, and expressed hope that it will end soon as the government has gone ‘out of the way’ to assure the villagers around about the safeguards of the facility.
Manmohan Singh, who while in Moscow for a summit meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced Kudankulam’s unit I would go operational in a few weeks, said the government had done ‘as much as it can’ to assure those protesters that the reactors were the safest available in the world.
He also said that with a total 2,000 MW capacity, the first two units of Kudankulam built over the last decade at a cost of Rs.14,000 crore, ‘cannot be simply left idle.’
The second unit of Kudankulam, the prime minister said, will go operational in another six months after unit I.
‘There are some people who are worried about safety of nuclear reactors and we have gone out of our way to assure as much as we can that the nuclear reactors that are being put up at Kudankulam are the safest available in the world,’ he said in reply to questions on the continuing agitation against the project in south Tamil Nadu.
‘We have appointed a group of 15 experts to interact with their representatives appointed by the Tamil Nadu government and to interact with the local people and more and more people, including the legislators and MPs, and I think they are increasingly of the view that this agitation is overdone,’ he said.
Manmohan Singh said he was in touch with the state government and it was his hope that the state, which is short of power, will recognise that the nuclear plant, with 2,000 MW capacity, will bring nearly 1,000 MW to it, while the other half would go to other southern States.
‘So I am confident that ultimately good sense will prevail. Politics is sometimes, I think, too murky. In the final analysis, I am convinced good sense prevails and will prevail in this case,’ he added.
He also noted that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had written to him seeking additional allocation of power to the state and that the power ministry had immediately given 100 MW. ‘We will satisfy the legitimate requirements of Tamil Nadu. We are working on it,’ he added.