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Uneasy calm in Kudankulam & Idnithakarai continues

The top management led by NPCIL Chariman, MD are camping there as fuel loading is expected to begin in the next 48 hours

T E Narasimhan  |  Idinthakarai/Kudankulam 

Anti- Kudankaulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) protestors continued their fasting at Idinthakarai, a tiny fishing village near KNNP, 650 kms away from Chennai. Though the area is calm, but still situation continues to be uneasy, as the villagers expect Police may enter into the village in search of S P Udayakumar, who is spear heading the protest and due to 144 declared in seven kms radius from by the district administration.

Meanwhile, officials have declined to speak to Media, stating that they were advised by the Government not to speak. Top management, led by Nuclear Power Corporation India Ltd (NPCIL) Chairman and Managing Director, are camping here as fuel loading is expected to begin in the next 48 hours.

Houses at were empty, and shops also closed, no electricity and all public transportation has been cut after the protestors clashed with Police on Monday, which resulted killing of one person.

The coastal village, which is depend on fishing for livelihood, has been in the limelight for the last one year due to local villagers for the last 394 days. The villagers have alleged that the will affect the natural resource (fishing) and it threatens their livelihood.

The man leading the protesters is activist S P Udhayakumar, a teacher, writer and social activist, who was beaten and thrown away from the Idinthakarai villagers few years back when he came with five people for anti-nuclear campaign.

But he had become a local hero after Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and more so the mock drill simulated at KNPP, which created panic situation among the local villagers as they were not informed by the authorities in June 2012.

Udayakumar, who was supposed to court arrest last night after the clash between protesters and Police which claimed one life, did not turn up. The emotional villagers hijacked him away in a boat infront of jam packed journalists on Tuesday evening.

The Police is still clueless about his whereabouts and they continue their search village by village.

Udayakumar on Tuesday said that he would court arrest in the presence of a prominent national leader stating that to avoid Police entering into the village for a door by door search. “We don't want our people to undergo this, but the agitation will continue even after my arrest”.

He also narrated nuclear technology is a weapon to kill democracy and will be a threat to Tamil Nadu (where the project is located) and for Kerala people.

Meanwhile, the government's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) last month gave clearance for fuel to be loaded into one of the plant's two reactors, one of the last steps before it can begin producing power.

The Madras High Court vetted that decision last week. But a case filed in the Supreme Court alleges that safety basics have been ignored at the Indo-Russian joint venture.

Meanwhile, a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday and he asked for an urgent hearing today.

The petition alleges that the Government has absolved the Russian company that is supplying the nuclear reactor from any liability in case of an accident.

The petition also stated that the Government has also brutally cracked down on the local community peacefully protesting against the plant and has slapped sedition cases against thousands of protestors. Thus it is absolutely clear that the Government intends to push the project through without any consideration of safety, costs, environmental impact and other concerns regarding the project.

First Published: Wed, September 12 2012. 12:16 IST