Deccan Chronicle | AR. Meyyammai | 17th Feb 2013
Madurai: Panic gripped the fishing hamlets and other villages in the coastal districts of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and other seaside hamlets in Kerala since the midnight hours of Saturday following a bout of wild rumours on radiation leak from Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP).
Church bells tolled at intermittent hours since midnight and public address systems blared warnings asking the people to assemble at open spaces in their villages since mid night. Fear stricken fishermen and villagers with their families fled their houses half-awake and panicked.
Many, fraught with terror that they would be wiped out at one go if the radiation reached their villages, assembled at the common fast site at Idinthakarai village when the church bells tolled as warnings.
They made frantic calls in their mobiles to their friends and relatives who also rushed to the places to evacuate them. Many had left their villages in available trucks and vehicles to distant towns such as Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Kanyakumari, Nagercoil and Kollam and Tiruvananthapuram in Kerala.
KNPP site director R.S.Sundar told Deccan Chronicle, “There is no radiation leak whatsoever. About 4000 people were inside the plant today. It is unfortunate that such rumours are being floated and people believe them.”
With the authorities pointing fingers at the anti-nuke activists for the rumours, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) said conflicting statements from central ministers and plant officials had triggered the alarm among the fishermen. Sundar, however, reacting to the charges of technical faults in the plant, said, “We cannot say technically everything is alright.
Integrated checks on several components of the plant are being conducted and we are finetuning the testing process. It will take some more days for the tests to be completed after which the work would be audited by regulators.”
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