Tirunelveli (TN): In signs of it running out of patience, the Centre on Saturday said it has ordered a probe into the source of funding and other aspects of the three-month long stir against the nuclear power plant at Koodankulam.
   
"The agitation is going on for three months. How is it sustained, is a question mark. It is not known who is financing all this. A detailed probe is on," Minister of State in PMO V Narayanaswamy told reporters at Tiruchendur.
   
Stating that lies and canards were being spread about the over Rs 13,000 crore project, he said, "We are trying to find out who are all working behind the screen and the government is preparing itself to take action against them."
   
The tough talk by the Minister, who was deputed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to meet the agitators in their first phase stir in September, comes in the backdrop of the leaders insisting on scrapping the project itself.
   
The Central government is closely watching the campaign and agitation against the Indo-Russian Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) and analysing who all could be behind the "spreading of rumours" against the plant, he said.
   
The committees set up by the Central and state governments on the standoff were holding talks with the people to clear all their apprehensions and doubts and remove them, he said.
   
The KNPP is located in the "safest place" and 99 percent of the work on the first unit was over, he said, adding that power production was to be commissioned next month. "It is at this stage that agitation had intervened, and the commissioning of the project could be postponed."
   
Narayanasamy said the protesters had raised six important queries about KNPP's safety and sought explanations in English, Tamil and Malayalam. The reply by the Centre's 15-member expert committee would be given in a week.
   
The Centre was more concerned about people's safety, he said.
   
The agitation has brought the work at the plant to a halt and caused a delay in commissioning the first reactor originally scheduled for December till March next year.

Pointing out that the country required 2.5 lakh MW of power, the Minister said currently only 1.5 lakh MW was being generated. By 2020, the requirement would touch 4.5 lakh MW. Atomic power is the only pollution-free option to meet the demand, Narayanasamy said.

(Agencies)