In search of an elusive breakthrough in the logjam surrounding the commissioning of the Koodankulam nuclear power plant,the Centre-appointed expert team held its first meeting with the state-level committee at Thirunelveli on Tuesday.
The discussions were largely exploratory in nature,with both sides making clear their positions,said those who attended the meeting held at the district collectorate on Tuesday.
The two representatives of the protesting villagers of coastal Idinthakarai,who are part of the state-level committee,handed over a memorandum containing 50 queries directed to the nuclear establishment and the authorities.
According to M Pushparayan,one of the representatives and a convenor of the agitation,such an important discussion cannot be conducted on the basis of speculation or imagination.
So we sought all documents including those related to environmental impact assessment,safety analysis report and the report on the performance of nuclear reactors, he told The Indian Express.
The representatives urged the Central team to approach the villagers directly,which the latter rejected as being impractical. They were then asked to discuss the matter with a 21-member team formed on behalf of the villagers in which there are several subject experts.
We insisted that it should be an open discussion,conducted in the presence of media. But they said they did not have the mandate to decide on such a matter, Pushparayan added.
The state Cabinet had adopted a resolution stating that all works at the plant should be stopped till the concerns of the public are addressed. Then some officials say it is not safe to halt work. If there are some technical issues,they can take it up with Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and convince her. We will abide by the state governments decision, said Pushparayan.
Sources said the Central committee on its part asked the protesters to substantiate some of the allegations and concerns they have expressed like fish breeding drastically reducing if the plant is commissioned.
The next meeting would now be held after the questions raised in Tuesdays meeting are ready to be answered. The Central team expressed confidence that they would return with answers in 10 days,added sources.