‘Centre hopeful of opening KNPP very soon’

Chennai: With pressure mounting on the Tamil Nadu government to ease the acute power situation, the Centre on Saturday hoped that it would "very soon" commission the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project as the state government was "very very positive" to the opening of the plant.

"My hunch is that Tamil Nadu government will take a decision as early as possible" on the project, work which has come to a standstill for many months following protests from locals, spearheaded by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy told reporters here.

The state government was very positive and was cooperating with the Centre as the law and order issue was a state subject, he said,adding Central and state government officials were regularly interacting.

He denied any "double-game" by the Tamil Nadu government and said it was aware that it was in need of power and assured to provide 1000 mw of the energy from Kudankulam plant though its original share was 925 mw.

Narayanasamy’s remarks assume significance in the backdrop of the state government appointed panel which went into the safety aspects last month also virtually giving a clean chit to the project.

Earlier the Centre’s 15-member expert panel set up to allay the fears of the locals had vouched for the safety of the Indo-Russian project, where the work on the first two units to product 2000 MW of power has almost completed.

Tamil Nadu government had yesterday sent its Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) S George and other police top brass in south to the region for an assessment of the law and order situation.

Narayansamy said by preventing scientists and employees from entering the plant, the protestors were taking the law into their hands. Police had filed 150-odd cases against them, he said.

On the controversy surrounding the deportation of German national Sonnteg Reiner Hermann on the grounds that he participated in anti-KNPP protests, Narayanasamy said a probe was on as site map of the project besides some local contacts were found from the electronic gadgets in his possession.

"There is all possibility of calling him back (for further probe) whenever required," he said, adding, a prima facie case was made out against him.

To a query on the US-sponsored motion against Sri Lanka for human rights violations during the conflict against LTTE, he said the PMO had been apprised of the sentiments of the Tamil people and political parties. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, DMK president M Karunanidhi and MDMK leader Vaiko had taken up the issue with the Prime Minister.

Without elaborating, he said India will not support any sort of human rights violations or abuse in any part of the world but insisted that as for Sri Lanka such allegations were levied against both the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE.

He also condemned the attacks on journalists allegedly by advocates in Bangalore yesterday and called for action against the erring lawyers.

Responding to a statement by a US military official that its troops were stationed in India besides Nepal, he said it had been already clarified by the Centre that it was not a fact. India did not encourage other countries to station their troops in our country, he said.

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