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Protest against Koodankulam nuke plant spreads

Last updated on: November 4, 2011 18:44 IST

Protest against Koodankulam nuke plant spreads

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A Ganesh Nadar in Tuticorin

The agitation against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli district is shifting gears.

 

Unhappy with the lack of seriousness being accorded to voices against the nuclear plant, the protestors have been touring the southern-most districts of the state to spread the word.

 

On Friday, the agitation reached the Tuticorin district. The protests, which began around 10 am at Roche Park and went on till 1 pm, was supported by many local organisations from the district.

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Image: File photo of the Koodankulam nuclear power plant
Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com
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Protest against Koodankulam nuke plant spreads

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The back of a truck served as the stage for the leaders to address the gathering, which interestingly mainly comprised of women.

 

S P Udaykumar, who is leading the agitation against the Koodankulam plant, told rediff.com, "On Saturday, we will agitate at Tirunelveli. From there we will go to Koodankulam where Vaiko (Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam founder) is sitting in protest to support us. Though our agitation here (in Tuticorin) is till 1 pm, we will be fasting till 5 pm. There is another group fasting in Idinthakarai (the nuclear plant site) as usual."

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Image: Women activists listen to a speech against the nuclear plant
Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com
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As the afternoon sun came beating hard, the crowd grew impatient

Anton Gomez, a leader of the fishermen community, was heard telling the crowd, "Please stay where you are, the meeting will get over in 15 minutes and then we can all leave together. You have come here to support us so please stay till the end." 

Following this, another man grabbed the mike to add, "Gomez is a very knowledgeable leader, but there is little time today. We have a few more speakers; they will talk for only 2 minutes."


All the speakers insisted that they had been part of this agitation since 1988 though the agitation came to the limelight only in the last three months.

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Image: Local leaders addressing the crowd
Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com
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Protest against Koodankulam nuke plant spreads

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The Indo-Russian joint venture in Tirunelveli district has run into trouble following protests from locals demanding that the project be scrapped, citing safety concerns in the wake of the Fukushima disaster early this year.

However, the assurances by scientists, state government and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding safety aspects have not succeeded in mollifying the protesters to call off their stir, which has caused a stand off, upsetting the scheduled commissioning of the first unit.


Friday's protest, ironically, was held near the Tuticorin Thermal plant that dumps thousands of tons of coal ash into the sea every year. Obviously, nobody seems to be looking that way for now.

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Image: The Tuticorin Thermal plant in the background of the protest venue
Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com
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