Protests against the setting up of a nuclear power plant at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu have gained wind in recent days. Chief minister J. Jayalalithaa has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stop work on the project.
If that happens, it would be the second time in a month when the Union government has been stopped in its tracks from exercising authority in a domain that belongs to it exclusively. Earlier, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s opposition to a water-sharing plan scuttled an important deal with Bangladesh.
This should be a wake-up signal for the Union government. These issues are too important to be left to the whims of local political interests. Unless the government is firm, such protests will be replicated elsewhere, affecting projects of national importance. If this drift is not checked, it will lead the country in an unpredictable direction.