Call to address concerns of Kudankulam protesters


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu

A chord with the masses:Film director T.K. Rajeevkumar launching the campaign ‘A rupee for Kudankulam’ on the Shanghumughom beach in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.— Photo: S. Mahinsha

 

The concerns of safety, loss of livelihood, and displacement raised by the villagers of Kudankulam are not the isolated concerns of 18,000 fisherfolk. Every individual should see this struggle as the right of another for existence and support it, film-maker T. K. Rajeevkumar said. The agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear plant has crossed 600 days.

Addressing hundreds of people on the Shanghumugham beach on Sunday evening, Mr. Rajeevkumar said the people of Kudankulam only want to convey to the world that none in high places had ever actually explained to them the benefits or disadvantages of building a nuclear plant in their village. They want to tell the world to understand the depth and implications of the concerns they have raised and see it as a concern of humanity and not marginalise it, Mr. Rajeevkumar said.

He was speaking after inaugurating the ‘A Rupee for Kudankulam’ campaign, organised by a State-level action council expressing solidarity with the Kudankulam movement

He said his reaction to the issue was that of a citizen and that of an individual who was apprehensive about what the proximity to a nuclear plant could mean to his world and the safety of people. The government had the responsibility to reassure the people about the concerns they had raised, he said.

Video installation

Mr. Rajeevkumar said a video installation on Kudankulam, explaining the entire anti-nuclear campaign from a human perspective, was being planned, the shooting for which had already commenced. The video installation would travel across the world so that the anti-nuclear voices from an isolated community would be heard across the world, he added.

S. P. Udayakumar, who is spearheading the anti-nuclear protests at Kudankulam plant, addressed the campaign via video conferencing. He said the people of the village were only seeking basic information about the nuclear plant project. But the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government were only concerned about enriching the Russian economy and scuttling the non-violent and democratic agitation being carried out by the villagers.

“Why is the government hell bent on going ahead with the nuclear plant project in such a hasty manner? The Prime Minister says we are approaching the issue emotionally and that we should come forward for a dialogue. But to initiate a dialogue, we need all information about the project – give us details about the site analysis, safety evaluation and emergency preparation and management reports,” Dr. Udayakumar said.

He pointed out that in other States too, proposed nuclear projects had been dropped following people’s opposition. “There is no need for any haste; let us have a national debate on the issue in the next elections,” he said.

He said the agitation will continue and that the people of Kudankulam were determined to fight for their right to live safely in their land till their last breath.

 

Urgent call for action- Idinthakari , Anti Nuke protesters under Threat


Dear all:
It is difficult to get reliable news. The folks in Idinthakarai are in a virtual prison, and cannot go out to verify. Our friends from Tirunelveli suggest that 10 companies, or 2000 police, are posted in and around Idinthakarai. That is roughly four police for every woman fasting to since May 4 to be heard. The fear is that the police will attempt to arrest Udayakumar and Pushparayan tonight. But when Prashant Bhushan spoke to DIG Varadarajulu, he said that the 2000 people were posted as a precautionary measure, and that they have no intent to move into the village. That is a bit difficult to believe. At the very least, this is war talk. Why do they need 2000 armed men to contain 500 women fasting non-violently?

If the police contingent moves in to the village, the villagers will not keep quiet. We hope that things don’t get ugly.

Please call the Police and advise them against precipitate action.

The villagers are interested in dialogue, and the police should work towards that:

Call:
Bidari, Superintendent of Police:             9940193494
Varadarajulu. Deputy Inspector General of Police:            9840970530

via- nitty

Massive campaign against N-Plant launches, thousands to surrender Voter ID cards


NEWZFIRST
09 May 2012 12:05:15 PM IST

IDINTHAKARAI -People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) today launched three campaigns against the Koodankulam Nuclear power Plant that is being set up amid strong opposition of residents of the region and to uphold the citizens’ dignity that is being dishonored by governments.

Collection of signatures by villagers who oppose the nuclear plant and surrender of voter identity cards will be observed in 60 villages belonging to three neighboring districts while ‘respect India’ campaign will be observed throughout the country.

Explaining the objectives of the campaigns Mr. V Pushparayan, member of struggle committee told newzfirst.com, “There are two Indias today, the rich and powerful India whose life is deemed to be important and valuable; and the poor and powerless India whose life is condemned as unimportant and dispensable. The dirty ordinary Indians are forced to sacrifice their lives for the holy extraordinary Indians.”

“Until the governments understand and start respecting every citizens by words and actions we will carry on this awareness campaign by joining hands with likeminded people’s movements.  Just as the freedom fighters asked the colonial rulers to ‘Quit India,’ we, the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy fighters, request the corrupt and communal ruling class in India to ‘Respect India,’ respect the Indian citizens’ lives, rights and entitlements.”  he added.

Briefing about surrendering voter identity cards, he said, “We want to make Governments understand that these citizens are not mere voting machines, they too deserve respectful lives, rights and entitlements. Until the Governments respond positively to the genuine demands of people of this Koodankulam Nuclear Plant region, all the voters will surrender their voter cards voluntarily.”

“Signature campaign too will continue in these three districts for about a week, where all the villagers who do oppose the setting up of nuclear plant will sign the appeal and that will be the mandate against KKNPP in the courts.”  he elaborated.

 

About 20 thousand voter identity cards from nine villages – Idinthakarai, Thomaiyapuram, Perumanal, Kuduthalai, Vairavikinaru, Kuttapulli, Kuthankulli and Avaidaiyalpuram were collected today and will be surrendered to respective Tahsildars after completing collection at rest villages, according to Pushparayan.

While, 30 thousand people from thirteen villages of Idinthakarai, Kudankulam, Kuthankulli, Uvari, Kuttapulli, Kamaneri, Thomaiyarpuram, Vijayapathi, Vairavikinaru, Thillaivananthopu, Kurinjikulam, Kuduthalai, and Periyathalai have signed against the KKNPP.

READ FULLSTORY HERE

Anti- Nuke Activists and Koodankulam protesters resume indefinite hunger strike


 

Protest leader Udayakumar says that they are still ‘committed’ to continue their non-violent protests against the nuke plant

Jeemon Jacob
Idinthakarai

Anti-nuke protesters have started their fourth indefinite hunger strike at Idinthakarai Lourde Matha Church grounds on Tuesday afternoon. Twenty five villagers representing four villages have gone on an indefinite hunger strike. From 4 May onwards, women will also join the protests. According to Dr SP Udayakumar, convener, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), the people of the affected villages decided to relaunch their agitation against the commissioning of the nuclear plant in Koodankulam.

“Though we have announced that we will relaunch agitation from May, in the morning we decided to delay the agitation for two days honouring the requests of the district administration. But our people were not ready to delay the agitation. They wanted to resume hunger strike at the earliest and we are not going to stop it till the closure of the Koodankulam Nuclear plant,” Udayakumar said.

Twelve representatives from the affected villages around Koodankulam met District Collector R Selvaraj and other senior police officials and held discussions to sort out the Koodankulam stalemate. “When we met the district administration and handed over our demands, they asked us to delay the agitation for two days. We have conveyed their request to the village council members who are backing anti-nuke protests,” said Father Arimavalavan, a priest who led the village representatives.

“But people were not ready to honour the requests of the district administration,” the priest said. PMANE has demanded that the government constitutes an independent and transparent national committee to conduct a study on hydrology, geology, oceanography and seismology of the region and share the report with the local people. Anti-nuke protesters wanted the management to conduct disaster management and evacuation exercises around 30 km radius of KKNPP adhering to the international standards.

“We have listed our demands and now it’s the duty of government to react. We also want the government to share a copy of the secret inter-governmental agreement between India and Russia in 2008 on nuclear liability,” said Udayakumar.

According to him, the fourth phase of the protests will be on a peaceful mode. “Since the beginning, we have been conducting our protests on a non-violent platform. We are committed to continuing our protests on the same line,” said Udayakumar.

Jeemon Jacob is Bureau Chief, South with Tehelka
jeemonj@gmail.com

Work continues at Kundakulam Nuclear plant as does police crackdown on protesters


Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project site, commissioning expected by the end of May

Jeemon Jacob
Thiruvanthapuram, 2 nd April 2012

Work at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project site continues to be on a fast track, and according to sources the plant will be ready to commission within eight weeks. According to an official working at Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project site, the commissioning of the plant is expected by the end of May. Scientists and officials had reviewed the progress of the project last week. “Our scientists and technicians are working over time and we will be able to complete the project in time,” said the official who wished to remain anonymous.

Meanwhile, the government crackdown on anti-nuke protesters continues. The Madurai Passport Officer has directed PMANE convener Dr SP Udayakumar to surrender his passport as a criminal case is pending against him. On Friday 30 March, officials from the intelligence bureau and the state police conduced a raid at Udayakumar’s house and the school his wife runs. During 12-hour raid, police confiscated documents of banking transactions and accounts books of the school. “We run a small school for 217 poor children. We have managed to run the school with limited support from local well-wishers,” said Udayakumar.

“I got a letter from Passport officer Madurai to surrender my passport as a criminal case has been registered against me. It’s an oppressive measure by the Central government. Hardcore criminals and the corrupt people have several passports and the authorities have never asked them to surrender their passports. They are treating me as if I am a terrorist,” said Udayakumar.

The letter dated 30 March stated, that there were 98 criminal cases registered against Udayakumar in connection with the Koodankulam anti-nuclear struggle. He was directed to surrender his passport within 15 days of receiving the letter. Leader Pushparayan Victoria, Udayakumar’s colleague at PMANE condemned the government’s move to throttle the struggle by slapping false cases on the protesters. He also wanted the Tamil Nadu Assembly to pass a Resolution to protect Pechiparai water from Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project. He alleged that Tamil Nadu is trying to divert water from Pechiparai dam to Koodankulam power project.

“The Government of Tamil Nadu has prepared a Rs 83-crore project proposal for the renovation of Pechiparai dam and Rs 5crore is going to be spent for desilting the dam. It’s a secret plot to divert the water to Koodankulam project,” said Pushparayan. The 42-feet high Pechiparai dam was opened in 1906 and feeds some 50,000 acres of paddy crop in the fertile Kanyakumari district. “When the KKNPP officials had tried to utilise Pechiparai water for their nuclear project, there was a massive protest against the plan in Kanyakumari district. Ever since, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) authorities and the State and Central government officials had assured the local people that Pechiparai water would not be diverted to the Koodankulam project,” said Pushparayan.

However, despite these assurances, pipelines have been laid in Kanyakumari district and two such lines have been extended all the way up to the coastal villages of Kanyakumari and Kovalam. “They can be extended to Koodankulam at a very short notice,” he added.

Jeemon Jacob is Bureau Chief, South with Tehelka. 
jeemonj@gmail.com

PMANE founder’s NGO inspected, wife says no foreign funds


by Pallavi Polanki Mar 30, 2012, Firstspost

The Nagercoil-based education trust run by SP Udayakumar, who is leading the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) from Idinthakarai village against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, was subjected to a day-long inspection by Home Ministry officials on Thursday (March 29).

Firstpost spoke to Meera Kumar, wife of Udayakumar and trustee of the South Asian Community Centre for Education and Reasearch (SACCER), who spent the entire day answering questions and providing details of the Trust to the officials.

What was the inspection regarding?

There were two officials from the Home Ministry and one local officer. They wanted all the documents and accounts from 2005-06 to 2010-11. The officials were from the FCRA (foreign contribution regulation act) division of the Home Ministry.

Is SACCER receiving foreign funding?

No. We are not registered under the FCRA. On two occasions we got prior permission from the FCRA wing for donations. Both were donations were between 2005-2007.

The founder of PMANE was not present for the inspection. Firstpost

One was for Rs 90,000 from Aid India and the other for Rs 4.35 lakh from Watumull Foundation. Prior permission was received for both these contributions from the FCRA wing. The Rs 4.35 lakh was towards buying a van for the school (SACCER manages a school in Nagercoil). It was a down-payment for the van, the total cost of which was Rs 7.50 lakh or so. The remainder we paid through a loan.

The Rs 90, 000 was for a tsunami related project that my husband did for Aid India. It was an entrepreneurship programme for women. The money was given as cheque to the women and a few sewing machines were also given, I think.

The officials were concerned mainly about these two. They took audit statements for all years from 2005-06 to 2010-11.

Did they ask for accounts from 2011-12?

No. They didn’t ask for any documents or vouchers relating the current financial year.

Did they say what the purpose of the inspection was?

No. They didn’t tell me exactly why they had come. But I understood that they were under a lot of pressure from someone from above. They were very cordial with me. My husband usually handles all the paperwork. So I wasn’t familiar with a few things. So initially, it was bit difficult.

Was the inspection at the office alone?

We have an office at home. So the inspection took place there.

In the afternoon, I was asked to go the Traveller’s Bungalow (the district guesthouse for government officers). They asked me for all the ledgers and cash books. They wanted copies of everything.
They asked me for three certificates. One, on how many passbooks were opened and closed for the SACCER Trust. The second was on staff structure. Some of the vouchers were missing so they wanted me to give in writing that some of the vouchers were not traceable. So I wrote that.

How long did inspection last?

At the office it was from 9 am to 2 pm At the Traveller’s Bungalow, it was 3 pm to 9.50 pm. Most of the time was spent in making copies, compiling, attestation and so on.

Has the inspection concluded?

They have not called me today.

Did Koodankulam come up in conversation at all?

No. They didn’t mention it.

Did they ask for Udayakumar?

Once, the officer asked me where my husband was and if he was reachable. He wanted to know if I had the authority to sign and wanted to know if my husband had to give me power of attorney. We explained to them that I was one of the trustees and had the authority to sign.

Had the officials informed you of their visit?

They had sent us an email saying that we were supposed to be present in room number 9, Jaislamer House,(office of the FCRA division in Delhi) on March 29 and 30. We had replied through a lawyer that we wouldn’t be able to present ourselves. And we had sent a copy of the letter through email. But day before yesterday (March 28), an officer from SP’s office came home and informed us of the visit.

Had you received any communication from the FCRA prior to the email?

Yes. Late last year, they had sent us a questionnaire. It was pertaining to how much foreign contribution we have received. I had explained to them that there were two occasions on which we received contribution and for both we had prior permission from the FCRA. The documents have been submitted.

Did the officials speak to Udayakumar?

On two occasions, I gave the phone to one of the officials to speak to Kumar (who continues to be in Idinthakarai village, which is about 30 km from Nagercoil). My husband was explaining to him why he couldn’t be there and was apologizing for his absence.

How is Udayakumar’s health?

He has been on liquid diet for the last three days. (Udayakumar broke his nine-day fast on Wednesday). His health is a bit down. It looks like he has a flu. He has been treated at the hospital. He is feeling better today.

Has he come home after he called off his fast?

He hasn’t been home since February 28. They say that Section 144 has been relaxed for areas other than Koodankulam. They say it shouldn’t be difficult to get there. I am trying to meet him over the weekend. Since I have school tomorrow, I will to try to meet him on Sunday. I haven’t met him in the last one month.

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