The CPI (M) on Thursday demanded that the proposal for a nuclear power plant at Kovvada in the Ranasthalam area of Srikakulam district should be withdrawn immediately as the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has not given a site clearance certificate either to the State Government or the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

The party released a copy of the letter purportedly written by the AERB stating that a lot of mandated conditions need to be met before finalizing the site.

At a crucial meeting organised here on Thursday to chalk out an action plan to block the project, the party’s State Secretariat member Ch. Narasinga Rao, Srikakulam wing president Bhaviri Krishnamurthy, CITU General Secretary D. Govinda Rao and others said that the State Government had no business to begin land acquisition without first obtaining a site clearance certificate from the AERB.

The meeting decided to take up a massive agitation in Visakhapatnam when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits that city shortly.

Mr.Krishnamurthy alleged that the Government was harassing people by clamping a ban on land transactions and denying all welfare benefits to the people of Kovvada and surrounding villages. “Many villagers are unable to sell their land for purposes of marriages and medical treatment. It is a denial of fundamental rights,” he said.

Mr. Govinada Rao maintained that any disaster at the proposed atomic plant would impact a huge area, ranging from Chatrapur in Odisha to Kakinada in East Godavari district. He alleged that the TDP had chanaged its stance on the Kovvada project after assuming power in the State.

“The TDP and BJP used to be opposed to the Kovvada project but now they have speeded up acquisition of 2,500 acres in Kovvada, Tekkali and Ramachandrapuram,” he said.