The Hindu, Staff Reporter

 Submit petition to Collector demanding its closure

Around 250 children from the coastal hamlets in Tirunelveli district submitted a petition to Collector R. Selvaraj during the weekly grievance day meeting held at the Collectorate on Monday demanding the trashing of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP).

The children, accompanied by a few ladies from their hamlets — Idinthakarai, Koodankulam, Koottapuli, Perumanal and Kooththenkuzhi — said in the petition that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, after ignoring the year-long protest by their parents and elders of their villages, was establishing nuclear reactors near their hamlets without conducting the mandatory disaster management exercise and eliciting public opinion.

Moreover, the Indian Government’s agreement with Russia on KKNPP did not pave the way for getting any compensation in case of accidents in the nuclear installation, “which would certainly have adverse impact on the lives and livelihood of the people living in the nearby villages”. Against this backdrop, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, “contrary to its assurance in the Madras High Court,” had given its nod for loading enriched uranium fuel in the first reactor of the KKNPP even as the cases challenging the commissioning of the upcoming nuclear installation were pending before the court.

“The Indian Government and its AERB which function overtime against the welfare of its citizens and their anti-judiciary attitude are teaching us wrong lessons. As we firmly believe that the KKNPP will undermine our peaceful living in our birthplaces, we appeal to the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister not to go ahead with this nuclear programme,” the petitioner children said.

As the schoolchildren were brought to the Collectorate by a group of women in a bid to highlight the ongoing anti-KKNPP protest, additional police forces were deployed.

Probe held

Official sources here said the presence of schoolchildren on the Collectorate premises to highlight an ongoing struggle had prompted the Department of Social Defence and the District Child Welfare Committee office-bearers to conduct an enquiry.

‘Action expected’

“We’ve forwarded to the Department of Social Defence the information we have and the video footage showing the children and those who accompanied them to the Collectorate. The information provided by the police and revenue officials was cross-checked with the Collector. We anticipate some action against the school authorities who failed to stop the children from being used for a protest,” said a senior revenue official