By Sisters of Idinthakarai
19 July, 2013
We hope that this letter finds you well – in the “pink of health”as a woman officer in Mumbai working with the National Power Corporation of India Limited wrote in response to the dangers of Nuclear Power Plants.For her, nuclear power plants creates a condition that “improves and enhances health and human welfare”.
So here we are less than 2 kilometres away from the ill—famous Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant gearing ourselves up to enter a new phase of health, prosperity and luxury. So please do consider shifting your summer cottages and villas here as real estate lobbies are offering spaces for you to live in style. No avalanches or deluges to be scared of. Only daily dosages of a few becquerels of radioactivity that will spew out invisible from the yellow domes so close. The lady officer even vouches that the radiation dose you get from consuming a banana a day is more than what you would be exposed to staying in the vicinity of a Nuclear power Plant. So we welcome all to either shift here and enjoy perfect health or turn Koodankulam and its surroundings into a Health Tourism location along with Power generation.
Our anxieties about the safety of the location seem misplaced too. The lady officer speaks with the authority and expertise of a geologist when she explains that during the Tsunami of 2004 when an earthquake of magnitude 9.2 struck the Tamil Nadu coast, this region was spared as it is a low seismic zone. But how did the actual inhabitants like us lose 450 of our tiny homes in the rising waves including our fishing gear? Why did the Lourde Mother Church which has been our refuge for the past 700 days during the anti-nuclear struggle have to give shelter to us then too? Why is the colony of houses closest to the Nuclear Power Plant now get the name Tsunami Rehabilitation Colony? Maybe because this name sounds better than just CASA colony.
We are still more worried about the impact of the Nuclear Power plant on the oceans and its temperature along with fish catch which will impact on our life and livelihood.But the lady officer who explains that the MAPS and TAPS located near the seashore has not created any changes in the fish wealth nor does it increase the temperature of the sea enough to cause damage. We are relieved that she did not say that a rise in a few degree centigrade will increase the prawn and fish catch that has been our lifeline for years. But the “bountiful fish” catch near the coast in the 2 above mentioned areas is worth analyzing.
We are honoured to have acquainted with a lady officer who is not only an expert on nuclear energy but is also an advisor on health, geology and marine biology and ecology.
So here we are back to square one. This we know for sure, in spite of all the general and vague assurances that have been given. We realize that none of our questions have been answered properly, to our conviction. We have not been part of any safety drill or preparedness before a Nuclear Power Plant of this magnitude goes critical. We have not been to a Public hearing that gives Environmental clearance to a Project that will certainly have an impact.
So we continue as before with the Porattam for life and safety. Because nothing has changed for us except the big news that the Plant will be operational soon. The other day all of us mimed death on the roads and pavements of our village through a Death Struggle. The little ones with their eyes wide open lay in the laps of their mothers or grandmothers hugging the Earth. It was a new experience to lie as if dead because for us the opening of the Nuclear Power Plant is like issuing a Death Warrant. The menfolk have decided to boycott fishing in protect to this national negligence to our right to live.
Please do not think we have accepted the decision and succumbed. We will continue raising our voices and asking crucial questions. We do not believe that this Nuclear Power Plant will bring power and prosperity to this region or our nation. We think of the people in Mithirvidi, Kovavada and other parts of India whose struggle against Nuclear Power Parks have only just begun.While extending support to all of them, we are determined to share the experiences that we have gained.
Please think of us and come visit us when you can.Remember the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant is gaining momentum and not dying.It is not and will never be a losing battle. Because it has raised the real questions on justice and human welfare.
Do be with us
Sisters of Idinthakarai
Photos: Antony Kebiston from Idintakarai village