TN: Anti-Kudankulam activists demand white paper

Activists protesting the Kudankulam Project) have put forward a charter of demands, including a white paper and immediate stoppage of work, before participating in the deliberations.

Chennai: Activists protesting the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) have suggested two names for an expert panel and also put forward a charter of demands, including a white paper and immediate stoppage of work, before participating in the deliberations.

The People`s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) that is spearheading the stir against the 2,000 MW nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu`s Tirunelveli district, about 650 km from here, suggested M. Pushparayan and Jesuraj as the people`s representative in the state government panel.

"The Tamil Nadu government had requested us to suggest the names of two people as members in the expert panel being constituted by it. As we are not aware of the committee`s terms of reference, the role to be played by our members and other details, we have laid down some conditions," M. Pushparayan, convener of the Coastal People`s Federation, said.

"Apart from immediate stoppage of all work inside the KNPP complex, we are demanding a white paper on the project status, cessation of derogatory remarks against the protestors by the nuclear establishment," he said.

"Our members should be the sole representatives of the protestors/people, excluding the members of assembly/parliament, and false cases registered by the police against the activists should be withdrawn," Pushparayan added.

India`s nuclear power plant operator NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam. The first unit is expected to go on stream in December. The project is estimated to cost around Rs.13,000 crore.

Villagers, who greeted the NPCIL officials with welcome arches and garlands only years ago when they arrived to set up the plant, now fear for their lives in case of a nuclear accident and the long-term impact it would have on the population.
According to Pushparayan, activists were demanding a white paper because there was lot of confusion about the status of the project with officials declaring that there would be severe damage if maintenance activities were stopped.

Justifying the demand that the two members nominated by PMANE to be the sole people`s representatives, he said: "It is only we who are agitating for the past couple of months against the nuclear plant. While we are thankful for other organisations for lending their support to our cause, it is our members who are spearheading the protest at the cost of our own families."

He said as the role to be played by the two members were not specified by the government the movement had nominated non-technical people.
The relay fast against KNPP at Idinthakarai entered its 16th day Wednesday with the participation of people from Vairavikinaru village.

The central government Oct 20 set up the expert committee of 15 members drawn from various fields to interact with officials of Tamil Nadu government, people`s representatives and activists of Tirunelveli district, who have been opposing the project on safety-related issues.


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