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19 September, 2011

Peaceful agitation against Koodankulam nuclear plant

Mass fast in protest against Koodankulam nuclear plant

A view of protesters gathered at the venue of the agitation

A peaceful agitation is going on at a village near Koodankulam where a nuclear power project is being builr. Several persons have been on fast for nine days.

When the Government of India drew up an ambitious nuclear power project Kerala’s politicians were inclined to agree to the setting up of a plant in the state. Environmental groups in the state vigorously opposed the proposal and the Government of India had the good sense not to pursue the idea. However, the two sites in the South that it chose for locating nuclear stations are both close to Kerala – Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu and Kaiga in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka.

The main argument advanced against the setting up of a nuclear project in Kerala was that an atomic plant should not be located in a heavily populated state. As it happens the Koodankulam and Kaiga plants are so close to Kerala’s border that in the event of an accident this state may suffer heavily.

India is the only country which has refused to reassess its nuclear power programme in the light of the Fukushima disaster.

Reproduced below is a report received from K. Sahadevan, an anti-nuclear campaigner who is at the venue of the agitation:

The hunger-strike at Idinthakarai, near Koodankulam, has entered the nith day but the state and central governments have turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the demands of the people. The condition of many of the hunger-strikers has deteriorate to an alarming level.

More than 15,000 people have been gathering every day for the past 8 days from 30 odd villages and towns around Koodankulam from three districts, viz. Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli. The protest has spread to many parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala with southern Tamil Nadu turning out to be the epicenter of protests. For the eighth day in succession, fishermen, farmers, manual laborers and merchants of the area did not go to work while students have boycotted educational institutions. Shops remain closed in many places around Idinthakarai.

The men and women who gather everyday to participate in the protest also fast throughout the day. People of Hindu, Muslim and Christian faiths and of all major caste groups are involved in the hunger-strike and the relay fast by tens of thousands of people. Leaders of most of the major political parties have come and expressed their support to the protest and a few of them have also announced specific protest programmes.

The authorities have foisted false cases on 500 odd people and a few have been put in jail. A huge police battalion has been posted near Idinthakarai and neighboring villages. Road blocks have been created and public transport has been suspended by authorities who are preventing people from coming to the protest venue.

With the swiftly deteriorating health condition of the fasters and lack of any serious or official initiative on the part of the governments to talk, some people are losing their patience. Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer has issued a call to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to intervene immediately and has also asked the movement to continue the protesters without putting the lives of the people in danger or resorting to violence. Medha Patkar is joining the protest today. The protest needs intervention from eminent and respected personalities like you and solidarity and support from groups across the country to force the governments to act and save the lives of fasters and to maintain a peaceful atmosphere.

1 comment:

Tintu said...

This project was under construction for the last 10 years and villagers never had the qualms against the project, hence it one really fails to understand the real motive behind this orchestrated protest.
If the anti nuke protesters are so sincere and wedded to their cause, come what may, then let them surrender their electricity connection first....atleast it would save few units then and provide power to other much needed consumers who want this project to come up fast and answers all the elctricity problems plauging the state of Tamilnadu.