The centre would try to find an amicable solution to the anti-nuclear plant agitation in Kudankulam, minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy said on Thursday, on a day agitating workers stopped the project's employees from going for work.
"We will try to convince the villagers (who have resumed the agitation and stopped the project employees). We have an open mind," the minister told reporters in New Delhi.
The agitation in Kudankulam, which was suspended earlier on an assurance from Narayanasamy, had resumed four days ago.
"The prime minister has taken the intitiative on the issue," Narayanasamy said.
While the prime minister had told a delegation from Tamil Nadu the security concerns of the villagers will be addressed, he sent a letter to Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday stating that the state's industrialisation would be impacted by the non-availability of electricity if the 2,000 MW Kudankulam nuclear power project was scrapped. Tamil Nadu is to get 925 MW from the project.
"We will talk to all people. We will try to resolve the issues," Narayanasamy said.
About Thursday's protests at Kudankulam, People's Rights Movement coordinator S Sivasubramanian told IANS: "For the past five days, 106 people are on fast demanding scrapping of the nuclear power project. The government doesn't seem concerned with the protest while some officials are passing uncharitable comments about the protest. Hence, we have decided to take up the issue with the workers."
The relay fast is being held at Idinthakarai village near Kudankulam in the district, around 650 km from Chennai.
Various groups of women blocked the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) workers and asked them to go back home as the project would endanger their lives and also affect their livelihood, he said.
"We tell the workers that Tamil Nadu cabinet has passed a resolution asking the central government not to proceed with the project and the concerns expressed by all the political parties. The workers are going back," he said.
Buses carrying KNPP workers too were blocked, affecting work at the project site.
KNPP officials told IANS that plant maintenance was being taken care of by skeletal staff. On an average, around 1,000 people work per shift.
"The central government is not listening to the Tamil Nadu people, be it the attacks on Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka or the fishermen in Kudankulam whose livelihood would be affected by the nuclear project," Sivasubramanian added.
Meanwhile, giving a boost to the Kudankulam protestors, chief minister Jayalalithaa said: "I am one amongst you. The Tamil Nadu government will act in a way that respect the local people's feelings."
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW-capacity nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam. The first unit is expected to go on stream in December.
The total project cost is estimated to be around Rs11,500 crore.