Social activist Nityanand Jayaraman, who is playing an active role in the anti-Kudankalam nuclear power plant protests in Tamil Nadu, on Sunday said that if the country’s power utilities were able to reduce their transmission and distribution losses from the present 33 per cent to 10 per cent, the country would have an additional power of 46,000 MW.
Addressing a day-long seminar on “Nuclear power-the Kudankulam struggle” organised by the Human Rights Forum on the occasion of the third death anniversary of HRF founder and activist K Balagopal, Nityanand said that the central government had failed to answer the questions posed by fishermen and the other downtrodden about their safety once the plant starts functioning.
When locals posed questions that were relevant and important, the government either termed them extremists or alleged that their agitation was being funded by foreigners. Without answering any of the questions, the government simply claimed that nuclear energy was safe, cheap and environment friendly. This is not true and the reality can be seen in the Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Fukushima nuclear disasters.
Nityanand pointed out that countries like India, China and South Korea were pushing towards nuclear energy, whereas Japan had decided to phase out 54 nuclear plants. Likewise, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Kuwait and Mexico either reduced their nuclear plants or phased out the existing ones, he added. Of the total energy available in the country through various sources, nuclear energy contributes to just 12 per cent of the total production, he said. Nityanand said most of the power generated was being used by advertisement hoardings and the elite in the country. It was not equally distributed among all sections of the people.
Speaking on “Globalisation, bio-diversity and alternatives”, Ashish Kothari of Kalpavriksh said the country’s biodiversity was being destroyed because of government and people looking at nature as a business tool.
Recalling his close association with Balagopal, professor G Haragopal said that Balagopal was a selfless human rights worker. He differed with the Maoists on the implementation of Marxism, though he never deviated from it.
Ashish Kothari released “Capital and other punishments” (a compilation of articles in English penned by Balagopal) and Haragopal released “Manishi Marxism” (reflections on human agency, social movements and Marxism) penned by Balagopal. The two books were published by HRF and Perspectives respectively.
HRF president S Jeevan Kumar, vice-president A Chandrasekhar and others were present. Several human rights activists who attended the seminar fondly recollected their memories with Balagopal.