Koodankulam protest spurs anti-nuke stirs across country


The anti-Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP) struggle of the people’s movement against nuclear energy (PMANE) has set off a chain reaction, boosting the other anti-nuke movements in the country.

Launched three months ago, the anti-KKNPP struggle, coordinated by PMANE, however, is not a sudden upsurge against the 2x1000 MW reactors that were scheduled to attain criticality one after the other within this year, according to one of the coordinators of the agitation at Idinthakarai, Mr M. Pushparayan.

He said it was a continuous process that started around 24 years ago when the project was conceptualised by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. This long struggle at Koodankulam, in Tirunelveli district, now has its reflections on various other nuclear projects in the country.

On the lines of Koodankulam, villagers in around 20 grama panchayats located around the 880 MW nuclear power station at Kaiga, being operated by NPCIL since March 2000 in Karnataka, launched a protest a week ago against setting up of two more reactors there.

Coming together under the banner ‘Jagruta Janate Horata Samithi’ (action committee for mass awareness), they have filed a writ petition in the Karnataka high court seeking a direction against the proposed, additional 2x700 MW reactors.

Stating this, Arati Choski, an anti-nuke activist from Kaiga, also mobilising people against the proposed uranium mining projects at Gogi, Gulburga, Karnataka, said the anti-KKNPP movement charged the anti-KGS movement at Kaiga.

“As an activist, I have come over here (Idinthakarai) to study the movement so that I can motivate my people struggling against the nuclear power plant at Kaiga,” said Choski.

Another anti-nuke activist from Jaitapur, Ms Vaisali Patil, visiting Idinthakarai as part of a national yatra, told DC that the villagers’ struggled against KKNPP enlightened the activists fighting one of the world’s biggest nuclear power projects proposed at Jaitapur, Maharashtra.

“We are in constant touch with PMANE at Idinthakarai, which helped us intensify our fight against the Jaitapur power plant,” said Ms Patil. Retired Bombay high court judge B.G. Kolse Patil said they have called on the protestors at Idinthakarai not only to express their solidarity but also learn lessons of perseverance.

Brushing aside the Union minister’s allegation that the anti-nuke agitations were funded by foreign forces, Ms Patil said, “It is not the people’s movement that has foreign backing, but the government that has foreign forces behind its decision as India’s main nuclear suppliers are Russia, America and France.”

“It is also to be noted that people’s coalition against Kalpakkam atomic power plant has launched a fight against the Madras atomic power station (MAPS) at Kalpakkam. A public interest litigation was filed in the Madras high court by advocate Vetri Selvan against MAPS.”

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