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Anti-Kudankulam protestors to fast from May 1 onwards

Tamil Nadu,Immigration/Law/Rights, Mon, 23 Apr 2012 IANS

Chennai, April 23 (IANS) Upset with the Tamil Nadu government for going back on its assurances, the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) Monday announced that it would resume an indefinite hunger strike from May 1 against the two 1,000 MW plants at Kudankulam.


"We have decided to go on hunger protest once again from May 1 onwards as the state government has gone against its assurances given to us. A large number of women will be participating in the hunger protest," PMANE leader M. Pushparayan told IANS over phone from Idinthakarai, a fishing village near the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP).


"When we concluded our earlier hunger strike on March 27 this year, the state government had agreed to release our comrades from prisons unconditionally and withdraw all false cases.


"It also agreed to institute an independent national committee to study the hydrology, geology and oceanography issues, conduct of disaster management and evacuation exercises to all the people in the 30 km radius from KNPP," Pushparayan, who is also convenor of the Coastal People's Federation, added.


According to PMANE, the state government had also agreed to share a copy of the inter-governmental agreement between India and Russia (the reactor supplier) signed in 2008 on nuclear liability; divulge information on the nuclear waste and its management and respect people's right to protest against the project in a democratic manner.


In a statement issued, PMANE said: "Almost a month has passed after this negotiation, but no promise has been fulfilled so far."


"More than 56,000 people have been charged with false cases until Dec 31, 2011 including some 6,000 sedition cases. If we tally the cases that have been filed in the first quarter of 2012, the number must be way too high. This only proves how big our struggle is and how undemocratic and anti-people our governments are," it stated.


Those who have been released on bail are made to sign daily at distant police stations thereby preventing them from going to work, PMANE said.


According to PMANE, the issue of seismology should also be studied in detail as the entire state of Tamil Nadu and the eastern coast of India were rocked by tremors and temblors following an earthquake in Indonesia this month.


India's nuclear power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building the KNPP at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu around 650 km from Chennai.


Work at the project had come to a standstill last year after villagers in the area, fearing for lives in case of nuclear accident, mounted an intensive protest.


The Tamil Nadu government had earlier passed a resolution asking the central government to halt work at the plant and to allay the fears of the locals.


To resolve the issue, the central and state governments set up two panels.


The central panel submitted its final report Jan 31. The Tamil Nadu government set up another expert committee which too favoured the project.


Last month, the state government gave its green signal to the project and also announced Rs.500 crore for local area and infrastructural development.


Following that, work at KNPP was restarted with police protection.


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