CHENNAI: Is Tamil Nadu becoming the nuclear waste hub of the country? Anti-nuclear activists and the political parties that back them certainly believe so, pointing at the six-unit mega complex that's coming up at Kudankulam, expansion of the Kalpakkam plant and the proposed Indian Neutrino Observatory at Theni.
Coming together in opposing these projects, opposition parties like VCK, MDMK, CPM, CPI, IUML, SDPI, TVK, and the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) and environment organisation Poovulagin Nanbargal are organising an anti-nuclear conference on World Human Rights Day - December 10.
Two nuclear power units are already functional at Kudankulam, while the works on third and fourth units are in progress. Recently, India and Russia signed an agreement to expand the complex by adding two additional units.
Addressing reporters in Chennai on Thursday, VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan said, the Centre, through its proposed expansion plans at Kudankulam and Kalpakkam, and the INO at Theni was making Tamil Nadu the nuclear waste hub of the country. All these plants have ended up in Tamil Nadu only after several states opposed this, he alleged.
The State government, too, came under criticism for its handling of the protests, spearheaded by PMANE at Idinthakarai village near the Kudankulam plant.
"Despite Supreme Court direction, not all cases filed against people who protested against KKNPP were withdrawn. Because of this, youth are unable to get their passport clearances and go abroad for jobs," Thirumavalavan added.
Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader MH Jawahirullah condemned the Centre for its move to convert Kudankulam into a nuclear hub even as it failed to make public the details of site evaluation, safety analysis and emergency preparedness reports despite repeated requests.
PMANE coordinator SP Udayakumar alleged that development activities in the areas surrounding Kudankulam plant were not taken up as was promised to the people to coax them into giving up the protest.
The conference will be held in Chennai on December 10.