Tuticorin: Scaling up their protest against loading of fuel at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, anti-nuclear activists and fishermen on Saturday tried to lay siege to the the port in Tuticorin but work was not disrupted, officials said.
About 3,000 fishermen and anti-nuclear activists in 500 mechanised and country boats tried to block the approach channel where ships enter the port but were prevented by Coast Guard and CISF personnel, CISF and port authorities said. The protesters remained in the sea shouting slogans against central and state governments asking them to stop loading of fuel at the plant, which began on Wednesday, they said.
Port activities have not been disrupted, they added.
Meanwhile, a group of anti-nuclear activists organised a human chain in Tuticorin town.
The heightened protests come against the backdrop of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board giving its final clearance for loading of fuel in the first unit of the Indo-Russian joint venture on Tuesday.
Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy,’ spearheading the over year-long stir, had given the call on 20 September to fishermen to stall port activities at Tuticorin, Kanyakumari, Rameswaram and Chennai today.
PMANE, whose leader S P Udayakumar is evading arrest with a non-bailable warrant against him in a case relating to the anti-nuclear stir, has also given a call to picket Central government offices in the state on 25 September.
On 10 September, the anti-nuclear stir took a violent turn leading to the death of a fishermen in police firing at Tuticorin.
The first unit was earlier scheduled to be commissioned in December last year but the continuing protests delayed it.
Meanwhile, PMANE leaders, including Udayakumar, and anti-nuclear activists, besides fisher folk took part in a ‘Jal Satyagraha´ in the sea at Koothakuzhi, ten km from Kudankulam, forming a human chain. The protesters stood in knee-deep water holding hands.
Similar protests were conducted in the sea at Kudankulam, Idinthakarai, Perumanal and adjoining coastal hamlets. PMANE has said that the Jal Satyagraha would be from 10 am to 2 pm and later the protesters would observe fast upto 6 pm at the respective coastal hamlets in front of churches.