Karaikal/Chennai: The Union Government will take steps to commission the stalled Kudankulam nuclear power plant "as early as possible", Union Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said on Sunday, adding it was incurring a loss of Rs 750 crore per month by lying idle.
"In coordination with the Tamil Nadu Government, the Union Government will jointly work out the mechanism to open the Kudankulam nuclear power plant as early as possible," he said in a brief chat with reporters at Karaikal.
Narayanasamy's assessment came even as People's Movement for Nuclear Energy, leading the protest against the Indo-Russian joint venture project criticised AEC Chairman Srikumar Banerjee's reported remark that it would be commissioned in six weeks and threatened to lay a siege there if it is done against people's wishes.
Narayanasamy pointed out that the Government was incurring a loss to the tune of Rs 750 crore per month as the plant had not become functional yet.
The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office said that intelligence inputs and inquiries by the Union Home ministry had revealed information about the NGOs which were found to be diverting foreign funds for the anti-nuclear campaign in Kudankulam.
"Several rounds of safety audits have revealed that the plant is very safe. Former President Dr Abdul Kalam has also explained his views about the state-of-the-art safety aspects and seven layered safety measures in the plant. The expert committee appointed by the Tamil Nadu government has also completed its inspection," said Narayanasamy and expressed the hope that the committee's report would be positive.
Stating that the NGOs had received funds for social service such as helping the physically disabled and eradication of leprosy and diverted them to anti-Kudankulam protests, he said "the Government has initiated legal action on those NGOs and is also probing if more NGOs were diverting funds for the protests."
In Chennai, S P Udayakumar, convenor of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), told reporters,"We strongly condemn the comments of Srikumar Banerjee. If the plant is commissioned against the interests of Tamils, PMANE, along with thousands of people, will lay a siege to the plant in front of it."