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India: Press Release - People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy - 10 February 2012

by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, 10 February 2012

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People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
- Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
- Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu
- Phone: 98656 83735

February 10, 2012

Press Release

While the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) welcomes the State Expert Team set up by the Chief Secretary on behalf of the Honorable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, we are obliged to point out that Dr. M. R. Srinivasan, a member of the team, is a well-known pro-nuclear person. He is the former Chairman and a current member of India’s Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). He was also a member of the site selection committee in the 1980s for the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP). He has been writing and speaking in favor of nuclear power and the Koodankulam project itself. Speaking to the press on November 13, 2011 in Chennai, Dr. Srinivasan claimed that when he had visited the Koodankulam area in 1984, there were no habitations there, nobody lived in the area and the whole region was vast seashore. This is a complete falsehood as Koodankulam and Idinthakarai villages have been in existence for centuries. He also requested Tamil Nadu Government’s full cooperation to the Central Government to open the Koodankulam project.[i] On December 15, 2011 Dr. Srinivasan spoke about the Koodankulam Project at an event in Coimbatore, claimed that “the dangers perceived by the locals were ‘imaginary’” and wanted the project to be commissioned at the earliest.[ii]

The people of Tamil Nadu had expected that the State Expert Team members would be neutral and independent but Dr. Srinivasan is neither. So it is hard for the PMANE to accept Dr. Srinivasan. Given this situation, the PMANE would like to request the Honorable Chief Minister to replace Dr. Srinivasan with another expert and expand the Expert Team with experts in Geology, Oceanography and Hydrology in order to deal with a few KKNPP-specific issues.

The former Chief Minister and DMK president Mr. M. Karunanidhi has claimed that it is mysterious on the part of the Government of Tamil Nadu to arrest a Madurai advocate who had accused the PMANE Coordinator S. P. Udayakumar of acting at the behest of a foreign power, instigating the Koodankulam struggle, and doling out money for the relay fast. This “Tamizhina Thalaivar” who has consistently compromised on the interests and welfare of the Tamil people both here in Tamil Nadu and there in Tamil Eezham, has no moral authority to criticize the Tamil people’s genuine struggle for life and livelihood. He and the non-functioning electricity minister in his erstwhile cabinet should explain to the Tamil people what all they together did to augment electricity generation in the state. They focused more on reaping monetary benefits from coal deals than generating more electricity from new and renewable energy sources. They never developed any original and sustainable plans and projects to face the power crisis of the State. They alone are responsible for the present sorry state of the power scenario in Tamil Nadu and hence forfeit their right to comment on our people’s struggle.

The PMANE members and our supporter Fr. Thomas Kocherry feel vindicated about our personal integrity and moral uprightness. Responding to the legal notice of S. P. Udayakumar on the false charge of having received Rs. 1.5 crores from abroad, Union Minister Narayanaswamy has retracted his story. And similarly, the Dinamalar daily has apologized to Fr. Kocherry (issue dated February 9, 2012) about its atrocious claim of his channeling money from Germany to our struggle. These ridiculous episodes prove that the charges against us are completely false and those who accuse us of these charges have no credibility.

Having failed miserably to allay the fears and concerns of our people, the Central Government and its intelligence agencies are now sending spies and agents into our villages to divide our communities, create fear and panic among the people and instigate violence. For instance, on February 8, 2012, three men had entered our relay fast site at Idinthakarai and loitering about the complex with a few bags and boxes. Our people drove them away and filed a complaint with the Koodankulam police. The PMANE condemns this kind of anti-people tendencies and approaches and requests the Central Government and the Congress Party to accept and respect our people’s spontaneous struggle to protect our right to life and livelihood.

The PMANE requests the Honorable Chief Minister to make the State Expert Team meet with our own experts, consider their findings and engage in a genuine dialogue with them. Shunning the usual public hearing model interactions, the Expert Team should visit the project-affected villages and hamlets individually, listen to the fears and concerns of the people and arrive at a conclusion in a democratic manner on the basis of majority opinion. Only such an action by the Government of Tamil Nadu will ensure the democratic and Constitutional rights of our people.

S. P. Udayakumar, Ph.D.
- Coordinator: PMANE Struggle Committee

[i] “50 Kelvikku Intha Varam Badhil,” Dinakaran, November 14, 2011.
[ii] “Former AEC chairman clarifies on Kudankulam plant’s safety,” The Hindu, December 16, 2011.