Tens and thousands of people of Koodangkulam and neighbouring areas agitate to stop the Nuclear power plant being commissioned in their place endangering their livelihood and risking lakhs of people’s lives.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW capacity nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Koodangkulam in Thirunelvelli district of Tamil Nadu. The first unit is expected to go on stream this December. People of this region have been opposing this nuclear power plant from being set up since 1980s when the talks and plans commenced. Government and the authorities have been ignoring their concerns and opposition for all these years. However after the terrible events of Fukushima in Japan, it is even more clearer of the potential danger the nuclear power plant can cause to the lives and environment. Hence people of this region are determined to stop any such disaster happening in their vicinity. They have escalated their struggle against the nuclear power plant in the recent months.
Following many agitations, they have launched an indefinite fasting at Idinthakarai, near Koodangkulam from 11th of Sep. This fasting by 127 people belonging to Thirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari districts, had massive support of people from all walks of life – fishermen, peasants, students, women, traders, and others throughout Tamil Nadu. All schools and colleges in the neighbouring areas were closed down and all students were at the site of agitation. Fishermen in Thirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Thothukudi districts stayed away from fishing and participated in the agitations.
Tens and thousands of people were gathering up everyday at Idinthkarai at the site of protest and raised militant slogans expressing their determination to stop this dangerous project going forward. Throughout the day, supporters and activists from various organizations and political parties took the stage at the site, expressing their support for the agitation and calling on the government to immediately close down the nuclear plant.
Due to the massive support this agitation enjoyed throughout Tamil Nadu and its day by day growth and reach amongst the people, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has to finally come down and write to Prime Minister to halt the work on the project till central government "allays" the fears of the people. Although people wanted her to take a clear stand in fully opposing any nuclear projects in Tamil Nadu, she has managed to wriggle out of it by simply asking Prime minster to deal with it. Based on the assurances of the Chief minister, protesters have withdrawn their 12 days of fasting, although they have clearly stated their determination to fight till the nuclear power plant is fully closed down. This agitation and the attitude of the authorities to this massive struggle has distinctly brought out how this system treats the mass of the people and that people are disempowered. It clearly shows that people have no control nor any say in the resources of their own region. People’s safety, livelihood and their aspirations do not count in the overall plans of the rulers who are driving towards becoming the world’s leading imperialist power as soon as possible.
Lok Raj Sangathan (Makkalatchi Iyakkam) is in the forefront in supporting this massive agitation whole heartedly. It has shown its commitment to the people that it will support and fight together with them till they are fully empowered to take decisions in their best interests.