local ngos have asked G Prakash, district collector of Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari district, to explain his statement on the Koodankulam nuclear plant. The Tamil evening daily, Tamil Murasu, on October 10, 2006, quoted Prakash's denial of a plan to provide water to the Rs 13,000-crore project from the Pechipparai dam.
Farmers and environmentalists of neighbouring Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts, who have been opposing the plant, feel the statement was made only to curb their protests against the use of the reservoir. Since its inception in 1988, there have been environmental concerns. Last year's drought in the state has heightened the farmers fears.
Currently, the dam irrigates paddy fields in drought-prone Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli. During 2004-2005, the farmers got Rs 10 for 40 sq m of land as drought relief. In such a scenario, farmers are not ready to share water with the nuclear plant.
The statement contradicts the claims made by the plant and government reports. The 2,000-mw project is expected to attain criticality by 2007. Since the inauguration of the plant in 1988, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited has held that freshwater would be drawn through an embedded pipeline from the dam, 65-km northwest of the nuclear plant.
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