Narayanasamy clears air about controversially saying DMK opposes Kudankulam nuke plant project
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), V.Narayanasamy, on Friday cleared the air about his controversial comment that key ally -- the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) -- not supporting the Kudankulam nuclear plant project in Tamil Nadu.
In an interview to a vernacular magazine of southern Tamil Nadu state, Narayanasamy had allegedly quoted that the current Tamil Nadu ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) - a member of the opposition, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) -- was supporting the plant, but the DMK was not.
Narayanasamy, in the interview, continued that the government did not need the support of the DMK as it was enjoying the support of the state's ruling party for the nuclear power plant to function.
The junior minister, while speaking to a reporter at his residence in New Delhi on Friday (November 09) said that he was misquoted in the interview and he never said that the DMK was opposed to the nuclear plant.
"In that interview, there is a lot of information, which I have not given, has been mentioned. I came to know of the interview that has been published, only after Dr. Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) gave a statement, saying that they have been supporting the Kudankulam nuclear power plant throughout. Infact, when the correspondent asked me, who all are supporting the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, I made it very clear that the DMK has been supporting the Kudankulam nuclear power plant for a long time," said Narayanasamy.
The DMK, however, did not mince words to clarify that they were not against the nuke plant becoming operational. Party chief, Muthuvel Karunanidhi, in a statement, said that the party had been in favour of the plant even before the AIADMK came on board.
Narayanasamy also quashed reports of any possible rift between the ruling Congress and DMK.
"The Congress and DMK, we are having very good relations inside the parliament and outside parliament. This kind of mischievous statement has been printed to create a wedge between Congress and DMK. It is very unfortunate that the media has been playing this," Narayanasamy added.
The Kudankulam plant will provide 2 gigawatts of electricity -- enough to power millions of Indian homes and relieve a power crisis in Tamil Nadu. More nuclear plants are planned.
While much of the world is turning its back on nuclear energy, the villagers of Kudankulam, in a part of India hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, say their government is gambling with their lives by opening one of Asia's first new nuclear reactors since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Unable to rely on a coal sector crippled by supply shortages and mired in scandals, India is pushing ahead with constructing nuclear reactors despite global jitters over safety.
Protest against the power plant has boiled over the past year, while nuclear fuel has already been loaded in the plant.
Hundreds of millions of Indians still live without power and factories suffer frequent blackouts - an embarrassment to India's aspirations as an emerging economic powerhouse.
The plant was first agreed in 1988, in the twilight years of the Soviet Union, in a deal between then-President Mikhail Gorbachev and India's prime minister of the day, Rajiv Gandhi.
At that time, memories were still fresh of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster two years earlier that had killed dozens and intensified global fears about nuclear safety.
The protests have forced the plant to delay its planned opening, and are another hurdle for India's troubled expansion in a civilian nuclear market worth an estimated 150 billion dollars.