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Anti nuclear struggle in India was funded by people

‘Our struggle was funded by the people’

A. SHAIKMOHIDEEN S.P. Udayakumar.

Interview with S.P. Udayakumar, coordinator, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy. By T.S. SUBRAMANIAN

S.P. UDAYAKUMAR, coordinator of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), was consistently in the news from September 2011 to July 2013 for his opposition to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. His name is mentioned in the Intelligence Bureau (I.B.) report titled “Concerted Efforts by Select Foreign Funded NGOs to ‘take down’ Indian development projects”.

Paragraph three of the communication, dated June 3, 2014, signed by S.A. Rizvi, Joint Director of the I.B., says: “In 2011, anti-nuclear activism stalled the nearly commissioned Russian-assisted, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu. The protests were spearheaded by Ohio State University-funded, S.P. Udayakumar, and a host of Western-funded NGOs. The larger conspiracy was unravelled when a German national provided Udayakumar with a scanned map of all nuclear plants and uranium mining locations in India. The map included contact details of 50 Indian anti-nuclear activists, revealing an intricate network aimed to ‘take down’ India’s nuclear programme through NGO activism.”

The role of NGOs in mobilising opposition to the KKNPP came under scrutiny in 2012 after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Science magazine that “there are NGOs, often funded from the United States and the Scandinavian countries, which are not fully appreciative of the development challenges that our country faces”.

It was in this context that Frontline interviewed Udayakumar. While his reply to the first question is taken from his Facebook page, he answered the other questions over telephone. Excerpts:

The I.B. report talks about your “deep and growing connection with the U.S. and German authorities….” It insinuates that the money you received from an unsolicited contract as a consultant with the Ohio State University could have been used to fuel the anti-Kudankulam nuclear power project agitation.

It is a ridiculous and libellous claim that I was contracted through NGOs and I was submitting “fortnightly reports” to them. In fact, I worked as an off-campus Research Fellow in the International Programme of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA, for several years. The Director of the Kirwan Institute was one Professor john a. powell [he does not use capital letters in his name], a reputed scholar in civil rights, who had been my employer at the Institute on Race and Poverty, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, USA, between Fall 1997 and Spring 2001. I had worked with him there as a Research Associate and Co-Director of Programmes and that was why he chose me for the Kirwan assignment. I travelled to the Ohio State University campus, Ohio, a few times also. For the Kirwan Institute, I did several research and writing assignments on globalisation, racism, minority welfare, BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa], etc. I never did any research and writing project on India’s development or India’s nuclear programme. I left that Research Fellow job in Spring 2011 when the Kirwan Institute reorganised itself under a new administration.

Similarly, Sonntag Rainer Hermann is not my “contact in Germany”. He was an acquaintance from Nagercoil, my home town in Tamil Nadu. He was a hippie-type, staying in a cheap hotel in Nagercoil, and participated in our anti-nuclear events. I did not receive any information or maps or monetary help from him, nor did I give him any. If he had done something illegal or dangerous, why did the Indian authorities deport him hurriedly without taking any legal action? I asked this question even when he was deported in February 2012.

In my humble opinion, the Indian authorities must begin to believe that “ordinary citizens” of India such as farmers and fisherfolk have a mind of their own and can take an intelligent stand on issues such as setting up a nuclear power park or other such dangerous projects in their backyard. Those who stand up, speak up and try to protect our illiterate people’s land, water, air, sea, food security and nutrition security should not be considered and insulted as foreign stooges, money launderers or smugglers.

The Indian authorities should acknowledge the simple fact that we do what we do because we love this country and its peoples. If this is how we—honest, responsible and law-abiding citizens—are treated, abused and harassed, this will only send wrong lessons to our youth and promote extremism and terrorism in the country. The I.B. report tends to blame all the hawala transactions, religious conversions, caste clashes… on the NGOs and their activities. This augurs ill for our country that has pluralistic ethos and democratic politics. I am afraid this fascist presupposition of the I.B. report is a precursor for stringent action against individuals, groups, people’s movements and minorities. As I have been singled out in this report and mentioned by name, I fear for my life and for my family’s safety and security….

The insinuation is that NGOs used the money sent to them from abroad for instigating the agitation at Idinthakarai against the Kudankulam project.

I have told you several times that no NGO money has been used for the struggle. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and V. Narayanasamy, then Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office [PMO], made similar allegations against us. If the allegations were true, why did they not take action against me? Why did they not arrest me? They are belittling us. They are humiliating us. They are playing a game. I have sent a legal notice to the Union Home Ministry. If there is no reply within a week, I will file a writ petition.

Soon after Manmohan Singh made the allegations in 2012, the Union Home Ministry revoked the licences given to three NGOs in Tamil Nadu for diverting funds from abroad for the anti-nuclear campaign at Kudankulam. Do your remember the NGOs’ names?

I do not know the names of these organisations. I read that they were taking action against some NGOs but I have never seen any government report or document, evidence and conclusions arrived at about the allegations against these NGOs.

The Centre froze the bank accounts of three NGOs—the Tuticorin Diocese Association; the Rural Uplift Centre, Nagercoil; and Good Vision.

I never had any contact with them. I had nothing to do with these NGOs. I never followed what they were doing. They never supported me in any of my activities.

You are running an NGO.

I am not running an NGO. I have a trust called SACCER [South Asian Community Centre for Education and Research] Trust. It is running a school. It is a legal requirement in Tamil Nadu to set up a trust to run a school.

Manmohan Singh said India’s nuclear power programme got into difficulties because NGOs, mostly based in the U.S., were working against it. Narayanasamy alleged that the NGOs, which were receiving money to do social service, were using it for anti-nuclear protests. You sent them legal notices because you said you were the convener of the movement and you assumed that these allegations were made against you. What happened to your legal notices? Did they reply to you?

Narayanasamy sent a reply to me, saying that he never made any such statement. The Prime Minister kept quiet. He never talked about this afterwards. There was absolutely no truth in that thing.

What thing?

That we received support from American and Scandinavian NGOs. I never had any help from Scandinavian NGOs…. My point is I never received even a single rupee from any Indian NGO or international NGO to conduct the struggle at Idinthakarai. For the past three years, they could not prove the allegations. If they prove the allegations, I am prepared to go to jail.

How have you been able to sustain the struggle?

First of all, it was funded by the local people. I have told you umpteen times that it was funded by fishermen, farmers, those who roll bidis, schoolchildren and people from many walks of life. Fishermen contributed 10 per cent of their income every two weeks. More importantly, ours was a Gandhian struggle, organised in a simple manner, in a frugal way. We did not raise any cut-outs, placards, banners or posters. You have seen the pandal and the frugal facilities we have at Idinthakarai. It was a down-to-earth, simple, people’s struggle. We did not have many requirements.

How do you plan to take the struggle forward?

I am doing anti-nuclear work as my duty. I see this anti-nuclear activity as the duty of an informed citizen in this democratic country. I do not have ulterior goals and hence I do not need any money from foreign countries or foreign agencies. India, being a highly and densely populated country, cannot afford to have a Fukushima-type of accident. So we are trying to prevent such calamities before they happen in India.

The third and fourth reactors are also going to come up at Kudankulam. Is this a setback to the PMANE?

We never started this struggle with the intention of physically stopping the plant. This is a democratic, peaceful movement, trying to raise people’s awareness about the dangers of nuclear power and nuclear weapons. We are hopeful this will happen sooner or later. We will change India’s nuclear policy. We do not expect results overnight. When educated and public-spirited people come forward and work for a public cause, they should not be insulted and hounded by the authorities. It is not good for our civil and political society.

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We are fighting against entire global nuclear industry: S P Udayakumar

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Q&A with anti-nuclear activist and convenor of PMANE

Gireesh Babu  |  Chennai   June 14, 2014 Last Updated at 19:26 IST

S P Udayakumar, anti-nuclear activist and convenor of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), has been at the forefront of protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant as well as the nuclear power policy of the government. A report filed by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to the Prime Minister’s Office allegedly says Udayakumar has “deep and growing connections with US and German entities” and has an unsolicited contract with Ohio State University Institute, US, to submit “fortnightly reports” for a financial consideration.

Are you receiving any foreign funding and what are the sources of funding for the operations of your movement?
The movement, as I have said umpteen number of times, is funded by the local people and by contributions from the neighbouring villagers and college and school students. We absolutely have not received even a rupee from any Indian or international organisation for our struggle.

You are saying that the leakage of the IB report which named you as a receiver of huge foreign funds is a conspiracy.
In general, authorities in India do not want anyone to pose problems in their proposed development projects and if anyone decides to stand up and speak for the poor people, they want to discredit them by saying that they are working for foreign countries. The government has every mechanism to go into the villages and find out for itself if we are giving any money or other incentives to people to join the protests. The media too have not gone to the villages to find out whether Udayakumar is paying the people to join the struggle. The whole thing is orchestrated by the authorities. Authorities include the state government, central government and the officialdom. I would also include the media.

How do you see the government and its policy? You earlier said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemed to prefer renewable energy rather than nuclear power.
If Modi cares for the people of India, and if he thinks that Indian lives have value, he should go for renewable energy because all over the world, countries are shunning nuclear power and going for the renewable energy sources.

Do you think that the the IB report has been “leaked” on the instigation of foreign powers?
It could well be because we are not fighting against just the state government and the central government.  We are fighting against the global nuclear industry. Americans, Russians and the French – they are all out there to get us. For them, it is a multi-billion business. They don’t want a few individuals and groups like us damage the prospects.

What do you think of the timing of this alleged “leakage” of the report?
We heard that the Modi government would put the nuclear issue on the backburner. It may be that IB is doing it to undermine the government programme or to promote foreign interests by leaking the report and embarrassing the Indian government. Or perhaps the Modi government itself has leaked this report to gauge public opinion and then decide on its nuclear programme. I have no idea who is doing what, but they are certainly out there to discredit the people of India and those of us who are speaking out.

You also said that there is a threat to your life. You are known for being against the establishment.  What new threat is there now?
This is a report filed by the topmost intelligence agency in the country. When it names me by name, and with so called documentary and substantiating evidence, it is a direct accusation. And when I walk on the street with my wife and children, who knows who will come and attack me. I am rendered vulnerable here. I have been judged without even being tried.

What kind of impact will this report have on your movement?
Absolutely no impact. I am an avowed nuclear activist and I think that a highly and densely populated country like India cannot afford foreign nuclear power projects and it is not in the best interest of our ordinary citizen and I will continue to oppose this.

 

Read mor ehere –
http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/we-are-fighting-against-entire-global-nuclear-industry-s-p-udayakumar-114061400793_1.html#

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“If They Arrest me,they make me a martyr and a winner’- S P Udayakumar

March 11, 2014

S P Udaykumar‘The Congress will be gone from the political scene. The BJP and Congress are the two sides of the same evil coin,’ anti-Koodankulam nuclear plant activist and new AAP member S P Udaykumar tells Rediff.com‘s A Ganesh Nadar.

P Udaykumar has been spearheading the anti-nuclear protests for the past three years against India’s latest nuclear power plant in Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district.

Udaykumar has been doing this from Idinthakarai village adjoining Koodankulam and has over 350 cases filed against him. He has been protected from arrest by the villagers who have declared that he can be arrested only over their dead bodies.

Udaykumar, who has now joined the Aam Aadmi Party, tells Rediff.com‘s A Ganesh Nadar why he plunged into politics.

All your life you have been an activist. How come you suddenly became a politician? Activists hate politicians.

I agree we don’t get along with politicians. There are two reasons for joining the AAP.

One is that fellow members of The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy think it will help our cause if I join this party.

Secondly, it will be a good vehicle to travel with other activists like Medha Patkar and Arvind Kejriwal.

What difference can you can make as a politician that an activist cannot?

I will continue to push the people’s agenda. I will try to be honest and transparent.

Try?

(laughing) I said try because I am honest, you know that.

But there are so many people I will be working with. I cannot vouch for all of them.

Is it true that you are contesting the elections? You cannot leave Idinthakarai to file your nomination or canvas, the police will arrest you. How will you deal with that?

The party will decide whether I contest or not. I will have to leave the village to file my nomination.

Let us wait and see what happens. Let them arrest me.

George Fernandes was in prison during the Emergency. He won with a handsome margin. I don’t have to travel in the hot summer and canvas.

I can sit happily in prison while they make me a martyr and a winner (laughs).

Are you contesting from Tirunelveli or Kanyakumari?

That the party will decide.

Tirunelveli votes on caste lines and Kanyakumari is a district divided on communal lines, how will you overcome that?

The whole state is casteist.

Our slogan will be look for the candidate’s qualities and commitment and not his caste or religion.

I am a secular person. Most people are secular. There are a few communal elements that stir up trouble. We will fight that.

Who are the AAP leaders in Tamil Nadu?

Christina Swamy from Karur is a woman activist. She is the state coordinator. David Barun Kumar is the head of the state campaign committee.

What did you think when Kejriwal quit as Delhi chief minister?

I thought it was a good decision. It frees him for the parliamentary elections. Otherwise he would have been stuck in Delhi mired in the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)’s and Congress’s dirty politics.

Now he can go back with an absolute majority.

In Delhi they got volunteers easily thanks to Anna Hazare’s agitation and the Delhi gang-rape that brought the youth onto the streets, how will you get volunteers? The going rate is Rs 2,000 per head per day.

(laughs again) That doesn’t apply to us. I have been leading an agitation for three years now.

We have thousands of volunteers who have never been paid in cash or kind.

After winning the Delhi election against the Congress the AAP took its support, will this happen again at the national level?

I don’t think so. The Congress will be gone from the political scene.

I hope there is no such political exigency.

Between the Congress and the BJP, which is the lesser evil?

No lesser evil. Both are two sides of the same evil coin.

The Church supported your agitation, will it support your politics?

The Church did not support our agitation. This parish priest supported us. It is the people who supported us.

Will AAP join the Third Front post the election?

No idea! I am not in the decision making committee.

You have over 350 cases against you, what are you doing about that?

I am not thinking about that now. If I am asked by my party to contest, I will go to file my nomination. The Tamil Nadu government has to worry about my cases.

DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) leader M K Stalin made an appeal that cases against us should be withdrawn.

As the elections get closer, many more politicians will make this demand. I am not worried either way.

Image: S P Udaykumar. Photograph: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

 

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AAP – vertical split in PMANE on S.P. Udayakumar ?

PMANE coordinator Udayakumar joins AAP

P. SUDAKAR, The Hindu , March 1

S.P. Udayakumar and Fr. M.P. Jesuraj join Aam Aadmi Party at Idinthakarai in Tirunelveli district on Friday.

S.P. Udayakumar and Fr. M.P. Jesuraj join Aam Aadmi Party at Idinthakarai in Tirunelveli district on Friday.

Amid resistance from majority of Idinthakarai villagers and members of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), its coordinator S.P. Udayakumar, who was hitherto spearheading the anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project struggle, and his associate Rev. Fr. M.P. Jesuraj joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday.

“My joining the AAP will further strengthen the ongoing struggle against the project and take the issue to the national level with much vigour,” Dr. Udayakumar said justifying his decision.

However, people of this coastal hamlet, who were vociferously supporting the anti-KKNPP struggle since the agitation intensified 30 months ago, kept away from the political ceremony that took place on the village outskirts.

Joining the party in the presence of David Barunkumar Thomas, AAP’s State campaign committee convener, Dr. Udayakumar said he had decided to join the AAP after its high command agreed to fulfil his conditions such as taking people’s opinion on establishing nuclear reactors and decentralisation of power.

“While we’ll take this issue (anti-KKNPP agitation) to the next level, women from Idinthakarai will lead the PMANE and continue the protests here,” he said.

Split denied

Dr. Udayakumar disagreed with the contention that the PMANE had split owing to his joining the AAP. Those who wanted to continue the anti-KKNPP agitation were against the idea of taking the issue to the political level, he said.

He also said the party high command alone could take a decision on fielding him as AAP’s candidate from the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha segment.

As the Idinthakarai village committee and most of the PMANE members, including M. Pushparayan and R.S. Muhilan, were against the decision, Dr. Udayakumar, who used to address the media either from the protest venue in front of St. Lourdes Church or in the parish priest’s official residence, was asked on Thursday night to organise today’s press conference at St. Antony’s Church situated about 500 m from the protest venue.

 

Read mor ehere — http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/pmane-coordinator-udayakumar-joins-aap/article5738571.ece

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Press Release- Anti-Nuke Activists Join AAP

 

Press Release

 

Eliya Makkal Katchi (AAP)

Idinthakarai 627 104

Tirunelveli District                                                                              For Immediate Release

Tamil Nadu                                                                                         February 28, 2014

 

PMANE Activists Join Eliya Makkal Katchi (AAP)

 

Goaded by the leaders of the various communities that are involved in the anti-Koodankulam struggle, some of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) activists have decided to take the political plunge. We take up the political route to continue the anti-nuclear struggle and resist all the anti-people and anti-Nature projects all over Tamil Nadu and achieve our goal of making Tamil Nadu safe and sustainable for the future generations.

 

Since both the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party are very much in favor of the Koodankulam nuclear power project and other such disastrous projects all over the state of Tamil Nadu, the struggling community leaders feel that we have to look for an alternative in the national political scene.

 

The obvious alternative is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that is attracting the attention and the political imagination of the youth in India. The AAP leaders Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan, Admiral Ramdas, and Mrs. Lalita Ramdas have been to Idinthakarai, the epicenter of our struggle, a few times and extended crucial support and solidarity to our almost three-year-long struggle. Most importantly, the AAP refuses to have any trucks with the pro-nuclear Congress Party and the BJP etc. All this makes the AAP our natural ally.

 

The AAP has taken a clear Aam Aadmi-friendly stand “that the local community who would be directly affected by an accident should have a decisive say in the placing of … nuclear power plants in their backyard.” The AAP has also promised to “examine the larger question of whether this country needs to promote nuclear energy at all or not at an appropriate time after wider public consultations.”

 

Although the name of the outfit is “Aam Aadmi Party,” the AAP high command upholds the principles of autonomy and decentralization and respects our freedom “to refer to the party in Tamil words familiar to the common man.” So we would go by the Tamil name of “Eliya Makkal Katchi (AAP)” and represent the “ordinary people” of Tamil Nadu such as the fisherfolks, farmers, merchants, workers, Dalits, minorities and others. The “Eliya Makkal Katchi (AAP)” would uphold the interests of the weaker sections of the society such as women and children and the elderly.

 

We are happy to record that the AAP high command takes the sufferings “of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka at the hands of the Sri Lankan government and military” and the “unprovoked attacks of Tamil Fishermen by the Sri Lankan military” quite seriously and feels that “all these should have been taken up very seriously by the Indian government with the Sri Lankan government and with the International community.”

 

With almost all of our political sentiments and sensitivities, and perceptions and values accepted and respected by the AAP, we, the “ordinary citizens” of Idinthakarai have decided to embark upon a new and bold political journey with new leaders, new dreams, new hopes and new aspirations. We are joining the party as members using the SMS method.

 

The Idinthakarai Committee

Eliya Makkal Katchi (AAP)

 

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Has AAP fulfilled PMANE’s ‘ Tamil’ conditions ?

PMANE Sets ‘Tamil’ Conditions for Joining AAP

By Gokul Vannan – IDINTHAKARAI

Published: 09th January 2014 07:48 AM

  • “Using a name like ‘Saadharana Makkal Katchi’ (Common Man’s Party) with the suffix AAP would help us counter local accusation of surrendering to Hindi domination,” Udayakumar said. (File Photo/PTI)
    “Using a name like ‘Saadharana Makkal Katchi’ (Common Man’s Party) with the suffix AAP would help us counter local accusation of surrendering to Hindi domination,” Udayakumar said. (File Photo/PTI)

In a role reversal for the Aam Admi Party (AAP), which had laid conditions for national parties to support its Delhi government, the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) coordinator S P Udayakumar has listed out preconditions for extending support to the party in Tamil Nadu.

Udayakumar, who was recently wooed by Aam Admi Partysenior leader Prashant Bhushan to join the one-year-old party, told Express in an exclusive interview that he had submitted a five-point charter to the AAP, including that its local unit must be baptised in Tamil to strike a chord with the masses.

“Using a name like ‘Saadharana Makkal Katchi’ (Common Man’s Party) with the suffix AAP would help us counter local accusation of surrendering to Hindi domination,” Udayakumar said. For the purpose of registration with the Election Commission, however, the name AAP could be retained.

Senior Aam Admi Partyleaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Yogendra Yadav, Bhushan and Retired Admiral Ramdass have been trying to rope in Udayakumar as the party’s face in Tamil Nadu, though Christina Samy is the state unit convener.

Udayakumar, nonetheless, made it clear that his insistence on a Tamil name should not be misconstrued that he was against learning Hindi. “Learning any additional language is an added advantage. My belief is that if a party is named in Tamil it would help to connect deeper with the Tamil people,” he explained.

The PMANE leader also wanted the AAP leadership to pronounce its stand on nuclear energy. Besides, he wants the Eelam issue to be addressed.

“During my telephonic conversation with Yogendra Yadav and recent meeting with Prashant Bhushan, I told them that the AAP’s state unit must give importance in issues relating to the Tamil Eelam, recurrent attacks on Tamil fishermen, abuse of the Indian coast in the name of development projects and plundering of beach minerals apart from social justice and minority rights,” he said.

Udayakumar said that he had put forth the same issues when Kejriwal met him at Kuthenkuly in September 2012 to support the anti-KKNPP struggle. But there was no progress after the meeting.

“However, now Yadav has reacted positively. He said that Tamil nationalism can coexist with Indian nationalism. We reiterated to Bhushan that Tamil nationalism does not denote separatist or secessionist sentiments but a stance seeking fair and just treatment of Tamils within the Indian Union,” he disclosed.

Towards this end, the PMANE has insisted that the Aam Admi Party must take into its fold smaller parties that advocate Tamil nationalism and interests of minorities.

“Bhushan expressed concern that supporting Tamil Eelam could create problems because of the Kashmir issue. However, I reasoned with him that Kashmir people are not treated as second grade citizens and are given equal participation in governance unlike the Tamils of Sri Lanka,” Udayakumar said.

While he is willing to work with Christina, Udayakumar wanted some of the members of the PMANE and its supporters to be included in the policy making bodies of the Aam Admi Party’s central and state units. Besides, he wanted autonomy for the state unit.

 

Read more here — http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/PMANE-Sets-Tamil-Conditions-for-Joining-AAP/2014/01/09/article1990617.ece?pageNumber=3#.Uw_m1vldUpo

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#India – 4 more nuclear plant units likely at Kudankulam #WTFnews

October 24, 2013 Rajeev Sharma, specially for RIR
Once the technicalities are ironed out over the third and fourth units, negotiations over the fifth and sixth units of KNPP are not seen as problematic at all.
4 more units likely at Kudankulam
Source: Reuters

India and Russia have almost finalized negotiations on the third and fourth units of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) and hope to sign the agreement “withinweeks” and have agreed “in principle” to sign an agreement on the fifth and thesixth units separately at a later date.

A keyIndian official, involved in the thick of India-Russia bilateral relation sarchitecture, said that both sides are confident that they will be doing fourmore KNPP units together. However, the official clarified that the current negotiations pertain only to the third and fourth units.

Indian officials are still maintaining utmost secrecy in giving a specific timeline ofwhen the agreement for the third and fourth units will be signed and whether Indian Defence Minister AK Antony will be doingthe honours and ink the deal with his Russian interlocutors during his upcoming Russia visit (November 15-17).

There is a strong possibility that the agreement on the third and fourth units may besigned between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and its Russian counterpart agency.

Well informed Indian sources have said that once the third and fourth units become a done deal, this would be a battle more than half won and would make things easy for not just the fifth and sixth units of KNPP but several more nuclear reactors that the Russians would be installing in other parts of India.

The fact that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Vladimir Putin actually could not sign the agreement for the third and fourth KNPP units during the 14th Indo-Russian annual summit in Moscow on October 21 should not be construed as a “failure”; these sources said.

The fifth and sixth units of KNPP are not seen as problematic at all. The importance of the ongoing negotiations for the third and fourth units flows from the fact that this is the first deal with the Russians or with any nation for that matter since the Indian nuclear liability laws came into place a couple of years ago.

But there is no doubt that the Russians are going to build four more, not just two,nuclear plants at KNPP in Tamil Nadu.

Indications to this effect have been given by none other Putin himself – and that too on record! Putin made a press statement  after the talks while Manmohan Singh was seated by his side. “Let me mention our biggest achievement too: in July, operations began at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant‘s first unit, “Putin said. “It is being linked up to India’s energy grid now, and indeed, I think this will happen literally in the next few hours. The second unit is in the works now, and there are plans for building more units, perhaps four more.”

On its part, India has walked a mile to assuage Russian concerns on its civil nuclear liability law and proposed to Moscow that their liability in case of anaccident will be kept limited to the suppliers’ default. This formulation seems more or less acceptable to the Russians.

The writer is a New Delhi-based journalist.

RRead mroe here http://indrus.in/economics/2013/10/24/4_more_units_likely_at_kudankulam_30335.html

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#India – RTI information came in handy for Kudankulam protesters

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TNN | Oct 16, 2013,

MADURAI: How could the protesters rallying against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) raise significant points challenging the project? How could the public be effectively mobilised after they were apprised about the risks from a nuclear plant? The people behind the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which spearheaded the protests, effectively utilised the Right to Information (RTI) Act to extract crucial information over nuclear safety.

To procure information under the RTI Act was challenging for the PMANE activists, though the stated procedure itself is simple. As they found it tough to deal with agencies related to nuclear energy, a dedicated team was set up to obtain the relevant information using the RTI Act. It sent more than 100 RTI applications to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), department of atomic energy (DAE) and Prime Minister’s office, seeking information on the safety features of the nuclear power plant.

PMANE activist, M Pushparayan, said it was through RTI they came to know that a reactor pressure vessel in the power plant had a welded portion which could pose a serious threat. Besides, they confirmed that several equipment for the power plant were bought from many countries other than Russia.

“PMANE had to rely on RTI as organisations dealing with nuclear energy do not supply information easily,” Pushparayan pointed out.

PMANE coordinator S P Udhayakumar explained how the officialdom try to bypass RTI queries. “Despite filing the RTI applications, the officials don’t provide relevant information. They tend to evade the queries by any possible means. Many a times, they supplied useless information,” he said. Udhayakumar recalled one such petition asking about the list of equipment procured for the Kudankulam plant, but they received a huge bundle of papers with irrelevant answers. “They tried clogging us with irrelevant information but I strongly believe that something is better than nothing,” he said. “At least, we can seek information from the government under the RTI Act. But much more has to be done to make the Act useful for the public,” he said.

Overall, the anti-nuclear activists are content that they managed to get some useful information which paved way for the public debate over nuclear energy. “We were able to bring about the public debate on nuclear safety with the information we were able to get,” Pushparayan said.

 

 

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#India – Koodankulam: To Think, Live And Act Non-Violently #mustread

By Anitha.S

12 October, 2013
Countercurrents.org

The team from Koodankulam -Melrit and Nisha with their slogans in Kochi 

This trip and interaction with people’s groups involved in resistance and struggle along with those spreading new thoughts on healthy and slow food and ways to treat the body softly reinforced our resolve to continue the fight for a Nuclear free world. We, the women of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy based in Idinthakarai village near the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu travelled all the way to Kochi in Kerala to address a large gathering of people on the path of healing their bodies through natural means without drugs and medicines. We also interacted with Michael Nagler of the Metta Centre of Non-violence which promotes the thought about peaceful resistance based in California. They were especially keen to meet the people involved in the peaceful protest against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant for so many years. We felt honored to see the team from California who knew so much about us.

This trip was special for us as we were able to be with 2 unique, powerful and crucial struggles in Kerala against unjust development similar to ours with reference to the participation of the community especially women and children. The first visit was to inaugurate the 1000th day of struggle against the Waste Treatment Factory of Vilappilsala near Thiruvananthapuram where the people were able to shut down the toxic factory that the Corporation set up to treat the city waste. The untold distress of the community and the impact on soil, air and water has been in the news for a decade. In November 2012, some of us had come to Thiruvananthapuram to attend the Women’s meet FROM Koodankulam To Vilappilsala where 300 women from various women’s groups listened to the Women’s voices from both places. Xavieramma who was jailed for almost three months last year after the Police attack on our village inaugurated the Vilappilsala meet. The resolve of the people of this village and their co-operation with the support of the local Panchayat is what made it a success story.

The second area where we went was to Katikudam where too the notorious Nita Gelatin Company has been polluting the air, water and land of the village Katikudam in Thrissur along with the river Chalakudy and many villages downstream. The horrible stories of the stench which creates discomfort in children along with incidence of bronchial problems and cancers ever since the factory started discharging untreated effluents into the environment was scary to see for oneself. The recent attack by Police and the Company on the peaceful protestors including damage to property reminded us of the carnage last year on us. The pollution of drinking water and the river along with irreversible damage to the soil and air with chemicals whose levels were much more than permissible was shocking. The support that Government and agencies like Pollution Control Board were giving the Company functioning in the area without the permission of the Local Panchayat was an eye opener for us.

We were surprised at the way the 4 groups we met- the Metta Centre and Michael Nagler from as far away as California, the people healed by the Nature Life Movement in Kerala, the People’s Movement against toxins of Waste Treatment in Vilappilsala and the impact of pollution by Nitta Gelatin Factory in Katikudam were linked to us through the message and means of non-violence and peace while addressing issues that have violent and cruel impacts on human lives, water, air and soil that sustain life and livelihoods. We were also reassured that there is so much of hope and determination in spite of many setbacks and failures that bound us together. The people suffering from many ailments spoke of the non-violent way in which the body can come back to life without toxins. The people especially women of Vilappilsala shared the way in which they would join the struggle front each evening giving a share of their daily income. The people of Katikudam boiled tapioca for us grown in their still fertile land while remembering the lush and rich crops they used to have in the riverbed.

We would like to share with you the disturbing news that many attempts are being made by unseen forces to break our strength and unity. Each day many bombs made locally are implanted in our villages to fuel and fire our age old community clashes, all of which had disappeared with the Anti-Nuclear Movement. The cases against us have not been removed in spite of the Supreme Court directive.We are in the midst of uncertainity as the lies about operation and production are being spread all over. Yet we are standing strong.

This trip has given us new energy and strength.

We carry back with us the message of Gandhiji written on the brochure of the Metta Centre
“The undreamt of is daily being seen. The impossible is ever becoming possible”

Anitha.S in conversation with Melrit, Xavieramma, Nisha, Malar from Idinthakarai at Kochi on 5th October. 

 

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#India – Anti-nuclear activists booked in bomb case #WTFnews

Anti-nuclear poster

By Express News Service – TIRUNELVELI

Published: 26th August 2013

High tension prevailed in Idinthakarai and its surrounding villages on Sunday after Koodankulam police registered cases against 65 persons, including  PMANE coordinator S P Udayakumar and other leaders like M Pushparayan, M P Jesuraj, Mukilan, Milton and Rajalingam, in connection with the hurling of country made bombs at Idinthakarai and Tsunami colony on Saturday night.

Police said that based on a complaint given by Sahaya Kapoor, a resident of Idinthakarai and a sub-contractor of the KKNPP, cases under sections 147, 148, 294 (b), 307 of IPC and sections 3 and 4 of Indian Explosives Substances Act were registered against 65 persons, including PMANE activists.

Reacting to the action, S P Udayakumar charged that the police have foisted cases against him and the PMANE members in an effort to divide the anti-nuclear plant protesters and the local community at Idinthakarai.

He said that Sahaya Kapoor along with a few of his associates some time back had distributed fishing nets worth `50,000 to a group of fishermen from Idinthakarai and other villages, which was reportedly offered by the nuclear plant.

Udayakumar said that after the PMANE exposed the malpractice involved in the distribution of fishing net and demanded action against Kapoor and his team, fishermen from Idithakarai kept away from sea on Saturday protesting the fraud.

In this backdrop, a group of four hurled county made bombs on the coastal village at night. However, Mary, a 75-year-old resident of Mela Street, Idinthakarai, along with two other women, Amali (70) and Lilly Pushpam (58), saw the quartet hurling the bombs.

Mary in her complaint, said that while she, along with two other women, was going to the Lourde Madha Church at 10.30 pm. On the way they saw four persons moving on two two-wheelers near the west bus stand shouting “We will not rest until the village is destroyed.” Later the four-member gang hurled two country made bombs and moved towards Idinthakarai Tsunami Colony. The sound of bomb explosion was heard from that location, she alleged.

She identified the miscreants as (Sahaya) Kapoor (33), Sacrates alias Mutti (36) Lawrance (38) and Sandeep (22), all natives of Idinthakarai, who were residing in nearby Parameswarapuram.

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