Koodankulam: A large number of local villagers surrounding the Koodankulam nuclear power project on Saturday blocked a van carrying skilled workers to the plant, demanding a halt to works.

The protesters from Idinthakarai and surrounding areas of Koodankulam stopped the van carrying the workers hailing from West Bengal at the entrance of the plant and forced the driver to take the vehicle to the local police station, police said.

The workers were on their way to the plant for some basic maintenance work when they faced the protest.

Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy Coordinator SP Udhaya kumar,spearheading the protest against the Indo-Russian project, told officials that, as per the resolution adopted by Tamil Nadu Cabinet no work should be undertaken at the plant till the safety concerns of the locals over the project were cleared.

However, work was progressing in the plant in a clandestine manner, he claimed, adding that this prompted them to resort to the direct action.

Tirunelveli District Collector Selvaraj and Superintendent of Police Rajendra Bidari and other officials held talks with the protesters following which they dispersed.

They also demanded closure of the canteen in the KNPP complex and sending back 80 maintenance and construction workers of a private firm engaged at the plant.

The anti-nuclear protesters have been pressing for scrapping of the project, whose commissioning has been deferred from December to March next year following the stir.