The unusual allies and a rightful protest

September 10, 2012

Kudankulam protestors have continuously been achieving the impossible – of bringing together the Congress, BJP, Communists, DMK, ADMK and a majority of the common people and intelligentsia on a single issue. They might even succeed in getting the parliament to convene for a special session to condemn them.
All of them talk about the foreign hand. Subramanium Swamy and Chidambaram are talking the same language. But the foreign hand is still refusing to be revealed except outside wild allegations.

All of them talk of the protesting fishermen being instigated by a small coterie of leaders. That the 10000+ protestors have even been hypnotized and brain-washed by that coterie. Ah, if only that were possible!
A protest that remained totally non-violent for over an year has turned partially violent today, when the main actors had to disappear under pressure from police. I wish it had remained non-violent despite the police highhandedness and I wish they had not disappeared – a Gandhi would have called off the protest if the protestors turned violent. But it doesn’t yet take away anything from the genuineness of the protests.

All of them talk of how the livelihoods of the locals will not be affected by the nuclear plant and its wastes. Oh yeah! I am amazed that people can pretend to believe this.

The Tamilnadu Congress President comments on TV that Kudangulam and Idinthakarai do not a Tamilnadu make. (hmm..that is the same attitude that Congress has towards Tamilnadu on Srilankan issue, that a Tamilnadu does not an India make). But the plant is coming up in Kudankulam and not in the whole of Tamilnadu. The rights of the people of Kudankulam to protest against the impact on their livelihoods is far more important than the power-crisis-induced support offered by the rest of Tamilnadu and India.

I see merit in Udhayakumar’s repeated assertions that the people of Kudankulam are not responsible for the power crisis -it has been caused by the administration due to decades of misrule and misplaced priorities. The protestors cannot be asked to pay for the faults of others. And they do not have the obligation to find the solution for the crisis, which is not caused by them.

All of them talk about the adamance of the protestors in not changing their opinions despite advice from all kinds of so-called experts. Why should they change and how can they, when they believe they are right?

(Cross-posted from Facebook)

Koodankulam : connecting the dots

March 27, 2012

Random jottings on the Koodankulam nuclear issue. Perhaps, not so random.

Compensation fund setup by BP after the 2010 oil spill : $20 billion.

Likely compensation for Fukushima crisis : in excess of $20bn, could be upto $59bn, over $330 million already paid out.

Compensation paid by Soviet Union after the Chernobyl disaster : $1.12 billion (by 1986).

Maximum liability for a nuclear operator in India as per nuclear liabilities bill: $300 million (Rs.1500 crores).

Any additional liability will be borne by the Government of India. [‘Nuclear operator’ in India is usually the Nuclear Power Corporation, a government entity. This means entire direct liability is on the government.]

Nuclear operator can claim compensation from its suppliers based on the individual contract with each supplier.

The operator will not be liable for any damages, if the nuclear incidents are caused by a grave natural disaster, or armed conflict, or terrorist act.

The Koodankulam plant (including the 2 units yet to be installed) may not be even covered by this bill. The actual liability is not yet revealed.

Fukushima survivor’s visa to visit India, revoked.

Tamilnadu Government cleared the way for opening the Koodankulam plant on 19th March 2012; Sankarankoil bypoll got over on 18th March; Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced during his visit to Russia in December, 2011 that Koodankulam plant will be up in 2 weeks; Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is scheduled to visit India on 28th March, 2012.

Udhayakumar and 14 associates, opposing the Koodankulam plant, are on a fast that is entering the 9th day today. Neither the government nor the people seem to care.

People are wondering on Facebook and elsewhere, why are there protests against the nuclear plant, in a country where the likelihood of death in a road accident is more. Chernobyl site maybe uninhabitable for 20000 years.

Dr.V.Shantha, Chairman of the Cancer Institute, Chennai, in a pro-Koodankulam ad, said “there is no relation between cancer and radiation”.  The aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster has resulted in 2000 people with thyroid cancer.