Chennai: Accusing the Centre of "abdicating" its responsibilities,Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that work on the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project be halted till the fears of the people in the area are allayed.
 
With the fast by over 100 locals in the area against the project entering the ninth day today, the AIADMK supremo dashed off a strongly-worded letter to the Prime Minister saying work on the project should not go on till the issue of addressing their concerns is settled.

Amid mounting protests against the project, Jayalalithaa's missive came three days after she sought to allay the fears of local population that the Indo-Russian joint venture in Tirunelveli district has adequate safety parameters and appealed to agitators to end their fast.

She said the plant was safeguarded even from a tsunami and was located in a zone not prone to earthquakes.

With barely three months left for the commissioning of the first of the two 1x1000 MWe reactors set up at the coastal village of Koodankulam District, Jayalalithaa said the scope and magnitude of the issue was creating a fear psychosis among people and villages surrounding the project area.
"I request you to kindly issue suitable instructions to the concerned authorities that further work on this project may be halted, until this issue is settled," she said.

"It is unfortunate to see that the Centre is abdicating its responsibilities. The Prime Minister should have sent a high-level team to allay the fears and misgivings of people in Koodankulam area," she added.

Jayalalithaa said it was "surprising" to note that till date no responsible Minister or concerned higher authorities from the Union Government have visited the people or even attempted to assuage their misgivings.

Hitting out at Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan, she said it was naturally expected that the Union Minister, hailing from the state, would have made an attempt to visit these people.

(Agencies)