Electricity Board’s Leaky Bucket – Justice Rocks Concert, Sunday, March 16, 2014, at SPACES, Besant Nagar

(Join the event on Facebook)

Leaky Bucket Logo by Trotsky Marudu

“Tamil Nadu reportedly has an electricity deficit of about 2000 MW. It is this deficit that is behind our legendary power cuts. What if we were to tell you that this deficit can be bridged quite simply, without much cost and without setting up a single new power plant?” ( via Leaky Bucket’s Concept Note)


Youth Action on Climate Change, Chennai, is getting ready this week to show us how to run an entire evening of music, theatre, comedy and satire with a bicycle powered generator. The SPACES wall has been painted with images of power plants, protesters, a grim reaper character with a bucket full of holes, and in nice bold red letters: TNEB. 😀

This year, the Justice Rocks concert is un-sponsored by the Electricity Board. Leaky Bucket will be an evening of finding possibilities. How can we save electricity, instead of producing more of it that we can waste? Wait! Do we really waste electricity? Leaky Bucket writes:

“…With water it is more visible. We see the Metrowater tankers spilling precious sweet water. We see leaky pipes, and overflowing overhead tanks. The losses and wastage of electricity are not always that obvious. But they are equally large, and easily avoidable…”

So where do we lose all of this electricity? Leaky Bucket’s concept note points out that from 2012 to 2013, in the span of just one year, Tamil Nadu lost over 20 percent of the electricity pumped into its grid and distribution infrastructure. “In the 180,000 megawatts of electricity generated in India, 72,000 megawatts, 40 percent is lost or wasted.” (via Koodankulam FAQ) Leaky Bucket finds the holes in the bucket:

  1. Transmission & Distribution Loss: Official figures state that about 20 percent of all electricity that is pumped into Tamil Nadu’s grid and distribution infrastructure is lost due to inefficient transmission and distribution even before it reaches consumers. This is solely technical losses, and does not include theft and other commercial losses. In 2012-2013, Tamil Nadu’s peak demand was 12,700 MW. Only 11000 MW was supplied to consumers, and there was a shortage of 1700 MW. Of the 13,200 MW that was generated and poured into the grid, 20 percent — or 2200 MW — was lost in transmission and distribution inefficiencies due to use of substandard material and equipment, and poor management of load and distribution infrastructure. If losses were brought down to, say, 4 percent as in Japan, only 500 MW from the 13,200 MW would be lost. No deficit. No power cuts. The T&D losses are a big hole in the bucket.
  2. Agricultural Pumpsets: Agri pumpsets are horribly inefficient, and use a lot of electricity to draw out water. We do not have an accurate figure for how much is consumed in this sector because agricultural consumption is not metered. It is widely known that State Electricity Boards inflate figures for agricultural consumption by showing T&D losses as agri consumption to avail of state subsidies for the sector and to downplay inefficiency. Metering agricultural pumpsets will give us an accurate figure of T&D losses and the opportunities to reduce the same. Introducing energy efficient pumpsets can yield savings of 30 to 40 percent from the overall agri consumption. Finally, planting choices and agricultural practices need to change from water-intensive crops such as sugarcane and rice. Free and unmetered electricity and water-intensive crops have led to electricity shortage and falling groundwater levels.
  3. Stupid Buildings: Commercial buildings, particularly luxury hotels, IT companies and the new glass and steel buildings are wasters of electricity. For one, much of the consumption there is for luxury and not survival. Secondly, if they are built smartly, they will not consume as much electricity as they do now. For instance, many of these buildings use glass frontage. Glass traps heat and increases cooling costs. To reduce cooling costs, the glass is tinted. This prevents the abundant daylight available in our state from lighting up the buildings. So these stupid buildings use air-conditioners and lighting 24×7.
  4. Wasteful Consumption: Elections are around the corner. Political parties will start setting up garish decorations — to light up their street corner events or flex banners. Miles of road stretches will be lit up by tubelights with stolen electricity. Advertising billboards are another area of wasteful consumption. 100 units of electricity is more than sufficient to power an average home for a month. 25 large billboards will consume in a day what is sufficient for an average family for a month. If electricity is truly scarce, how is it that hotels, malls and rich houses waste so much electricity in cooling, lighting and other luxuries just because they can pay for it. Consider this: Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani’s monthly electricity bill at his 75-storeyed house in Mumbai is Rs. 76 lakhs. The house consumes 55,000 units a month, or the equivalent of 550 families.
  5. Commercial and Domestic Consumers: The devices we use at home and in our commercial and industrial buildings also leave us with plenty of opportunity to reduce wastage. A Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) uses only 25 percent of the electricity required to produce the same amount using an incandescent lamp (bulb). So, a 100W bulb can be replaced with a 25W CFL without any reduction in light. While the bulb will consume 1 unit in 10 hours, a CFL will only consume 0.25 units. Similar improvements are possible for refrigeration, fans, pumpsets, grinders and other common household appliances. One study estimates that replacing all incandescent bulbs with CFLs in Tamil Nadu can yield a savings of 2000 MW (far more than our current deficit)

Efficiency enhancement measures are very inexpensive in comparison to capacity enhancement measures. While conservation and efficiency improvement cost about Rs. 50 lakhs per megawatt saved, setting up a nuclear plant will cost about Rs. 26 crores per megawatt of production capacity. Coal costs about Rs. 7 crores per megawatt; solar about Rs. 8 crores and wind about Rs. 4 crores/megawatt.

Leaky Bucket invites everyone for an open evening of music, comedy, and cycling. Join them to ask the Government to improve efficiency, reduce losses and curtail wastage. Follow them on Facebook. Let’s sing, laugh and dance, for we don’t need any more power plants.

shared by samyuktha pc. 

Criticality may mean death for Kudankulam’s seas

Reposted from rediff.com/news

The first two units of the Kudankulam nuclear plant will discharge 6.3 billion litres of waste water every day right onto the beach. This discharge will trigger a slow-motion disaster that will poison beaches, devastate near-shore fisheries and choke the livelihood of fisherfolk in the vicinity, says Nityanand Jayaraman.

Only providence, not the plant’s design or regulators’ due diligence, will now help the Kudankulam reactor function without any major mishap if and when Unit 1 limps to commercial production of electricity. Unit 1 and 2’s effluent disposal system is inherently harmful, and regulators have cleared the plant for operation despite knowing that.

In June 2013, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board renewed Unit 1 and 2’s license to operate. This allows each plant to discharge 6.3 billion litres of waste water every day right onto the beach. This discharge will trigger a slow-motion disaster that will poison beaches, devastate near-shore fisheries and choke the livelihood of fisherfolk in the vicinity.

When that happens, the blame should fall squarely on the individuals in Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, the State Coastal Zone Management Authority, the 12 members of the Union environment ministry’s expert appraisal committee on CRZ, and the ministry itself. All of them would have knowingly allowed this damage to happen.

As things stand, an open channel running along the nuclear plant’s seaside compound wall will empty the effluents onto the beach. That is a lot of pollution to dump into the Gulf of Mannar. 6.3 billion litres per day translates to 2,600 cusecs. Last fortnight, farmers in Tiruchirapalli rejoiced when 3,000 cusecs of water was released from the Mettur Dam. At full power, the two units will dump 5,200 cusecs of hot, salty, toxic water every day onto Kudankulam’s beaches.

Dr. Mark Chernaik, scientific advisor to ELAW-US — a global network of environmental lawyers and activists, reviewed Kudankulam’s Environmental Impact Assessment report and the response of the government’s expert group. According to him, “neither contains an adequate assessment of the impacts to marine life of cooling water (thermal) discharges.”

Citing case studies from China and Brazil, Dr Chernaik concludes that “The impact to marine life of thermal discharges are indirect, yet still very substantial: small increases of the temperature of marine water changes water chemistry, including reductions in dissolved oxygen levels. . .that can deleteriously impact fisheries. Also, fish may be able to migrate to avoid localised temperature shifts, but their food sources (sponges, algae, and small invertebrates) are fixed and cannot.”

Local effects on fisheries will be evident within days of release. According to a 2008 study for NPCIL, ocean currents in this region flow parallel and close to the shore. During the southwest monsoon, the currents flow east from Kudankulam towards Idinthakarai. Between November and February, the currents reverse.

The wastewater will kill all life in the inter-tidal zone in the immediate vicinity of the effluent channel. A 2011 study for Units 3 to 6 records 30 species of plankton in Kudankulam’s near-shore waters, nearly twice the number found in deeper waters. The hot water will float in the direction of the current, reducing dissolved oxygen and wiping out the plankton. The blanket of death will spread seaward until the temperature reaches ambient levels.

The rocky areas in the vicinity of the effluent channel are rich in prawns and lobsters. Local fishermen talk of days when prawns literally boil into their nets. Prawns and lobsters are not surface dwellers; so the hot water is unlikely to affect them directly. But, with the plankton gone, a keystone in the local food chain would have disappeared, knocking the life out of the local ecosystem and the fishery dependent community. All fish that can swim to cooler waters will leave.

The 2011 study also reports that the villages of Idinthakarai, Kootapulli and Perumanal — all in the vicinity of the plant — landed 14,000 tonnes of fish in 2010. At least half of that was sardines, a plankton-feeder. No plankton; no sardines.

Even the expert appraisal committee of the MoEF seems to think that discharging such a large quantity of polluted water onto the shores of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve is not a good idea. The EAC considered NPCIL’s application for CRZ clearance for Units 3 to 6 in April and September 2011. The committee observed that the proposal is for “the construction of open channel for outfall. Due to various environmental problems, including adverse impacts on the marine life, the present proposal not (sic) acceptable.”

In May 2012, EAC recommended clearance with a condition that the effluent disposal scheme was “modified to discharge the [coolant water] through underwater pipelines to a region of 4-5 metres bathymetry which is away from the shore.”

Barring a few members, the EAC that made this insightful recommendation is the same that recommended CRZ clearance for Units 1 & 2 in March 2013. Curiously, this recommendation did not warn against near-shore discharge or recommend a deep-sea, marine outfall. As on date, the environment ministry’s website says that clearance is still pending. Legally speaking, the plant cannot commence operations without a CRZ clearance.

But the TNPCB has granted its consent to operate the plant. Unlike the AERB, which is subservient to the Department of Atomic Energy, TNPCB is technically independent. But that independence is only notional. Like the AERB, the pollution control board too is only a crony regulator.

Nityanand Jayaraman is a Chennai-based writer and a volunteer with the Chennai Solidarity Group for the Kudankulam struggle.

Sixth Letter From Women of Koodankulam

November 09 2012

Dear Sisters,

We are writing again to you for the 6th time. We realize that all over our country and the world people are speaking for us. As you know the present phase of the struggle that started in August 2011 against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant has gone through so many special and intense moments. Some of which has reached the world, some have not. But for us living in Idinthakarai and Koodankulam villages, we have not respite till we hear that the KKNPP has been shelved. We would also like to see that transparency in decision making and also participation in development programs become part of the democratic process in India. This we have learnt by being here and listening to so many learned thinkers and leaders who have come with support to us. We know that the Nuclear Industry is one ridden with secrets and lies, swamped in corruption and fraud. For this, our own tryst with the implementation of Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant is enough testimony.

We write this to share with you a matter that has reached our ears recently and which is troubling us no end. Our three dear sisters who were taken away by Police on September 10, 2012 are in Trichy jail. Now we hear that the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has denied them bail. They have been charged with unlawful assembling, shouting abuses and carrying deadly weapons. We cannot even think for a moment like this about our gentle sisters. We are sure that you remember Xavier Amma lamenting at the Police from the sandy beach drenched in sea water, Sundari shouting slogans in her cracked voice after days of traveling and talking to villagers, Selvi being pushed around. We rub our eyes and pinch ourselves to make sure that these are sights not seen in mindless sleep. No, these are real as the attached photos will not lie. These are images , live and real from a day taken by friends who shared our anguish by being with us. These are images, not worked on in photoshop software or manipulated to prove some vested interest. These are honest copies of our life that speak for themselves.

We are afraid that the trio will be kept indefinitely in captivity so that the morale of all of us here can be broken and trampled upon. While we want to say aloud that we are still strong and convinced, we would also like to convey that we are worried about the future of the 3 sisters. We see their families, pining for them, anxious and restless. We see the faded smiles on the faces of Sundari’s children, the weak but sensitive son of Selvi’s the pain in Xavierammal’s aged mother’s eyes. We all miss them too. If anyone thinks that by treating them like criminals or anti-national suspects, the determination of the women in the movement can be suppressed, they are mistaken.

We have gained strength and energy as we hear from people who have visited them in jail.We are proud that they are holding on conveying to all their companions in the prison the cause they are fighting for. We are inspired by their steadfast courage and will power. We feel that it is permeating through the concrete walls and iron bars of the prison and reaching us.

We wish that all of you would think of the 3 in your prayers. Please come together even as small groups and demand their release. Now it is Sundari, Selvi and Xavierammal. Tomorrow it could be you, me and us.

Do convey this message to the world

With love

Sisters from Idinthakarai

( Conveyed to Anitha.S on 9.11.2011)

Jal Satyagraha. Sep 2012. Photo: N Rajesh. Source: The Hindu

Source: Countercurrents.org

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Is your experiment time travel?

by samyuktha pc.

*

Forty kilometres,

one foot after another, another one of mine,

in front of one foot, then another foot of mine,

it only takes one lakh and twenty thousand,

one foot after another, my foot after another,

walking away from my two-storey-two-TV house,

to the nearest nuclear power plant.

Uranium and Plutonium, however travel faster than me.

 

Three continuous days of rain,

and the one road that envelops my house,

it’s empty plots on either sides,

now are filled with water, knee-deep,

so one foot after another is a bit hard to count,

beautiful crabs and snakes distract me.

Then why would I want the main road,

where the buses speed in plenty?

 

“Leptos Pirosis”, someone warns me,

from inside the tiles of the house,

“Elephantisis”, I thought. “Dengue”, they say.

“SARS was many years ago”, a friend knocks my head,

“TB just might be your fate.”

“No cancer is not out of fashion.”

 

Forty more kilometers to go,

one foot after another, my foot after another,

Six hundred and ninety four kilometers,

one foot after another, my foot after another,

one foot after another, my foot after another…

phew…

one more nuclear power plant!

 

Thyroids and bladders in danger,

invisible half-lives floating around.

My stomach has been crying for days,

“Take me away from all of this,”

it craves.

 

Constitutions and nations too hard

for my four chamber stomach to mulch.

In a week, I’d be sitting

in colorful camps by governments

to scan irises,

deploy vaccines,

run emergency drills,

copy fingerprints,

build barbed wire fences,

maybe even shave our heads.

Biometric bullshit

inside my house, inside my head,

inside inside yours and mine,

inside every tube and cell.

 

Just that this is not new,

reaching this cow a little too late,

when parts of it just fall away,

inside its breath, inside its balance,

inside its sexual common sense,

not able to place any foot after another.

The cow and I stand still.

 

It takes a cold glass of buttermilk,

some prolonged sleep, and no other humans

asking it questions. Then, they, my organs, agree with me.

On this planet, third away from the sun,

maybe no longer the only one with life or diamonds,

(believed to be rare), we shall be our next dinosaurs.

 

Like the rusted seas of years ago,

now the iron we swallow,

Like the ice age remnants,

that NY uses to reach high skies,

Like the million histories, we each,

try to convince each one of us, individually,

each to be convinced, maybe that those

planes can’t crash down on

all of this and more.

No, we will all go.

 

Not together. Just disappear.

You will remember me for a few days.

Remember the post-mortem details,

and the new incinerator that burnt me up,

maybe even a biometric unique i.d.

but how would you know

how my mind decayed…

for everything we release

is invisible now.

*

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Sustained notes of struggle: The Anti-Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Movement

APEX Express is a “weekly magazine-style radio…committed to building a broader social movement for justice and collective liberation for all oppressed people, including poor & working-class people, people of color, women and queer people.” Read more about APEX Express on their blog.

On 18 October 2012, APEX contributor Marie Choi called in activists from the Chennai Solidarity Group for a discussion on the various aspects of the anti-nuclear struggle in Koodankulam and the Government of India’s and the state government’s reaction to it. What follows is only the transcript of the conversation between V. Geetha and Nityanand Jayaraman (Chennai Solidarity Group) and Marie Choi (APEX). Listen to the full episode here and tune in every Thursday 7-8 p.m. for new episodes here.

Introductions

Protest against proposed nuclear power plant in Koodankulam, 1989. Shared by Prabakar Kappikulam

The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy has been picking up steam and they’re organizing against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in the southernmost part of India. People in Tamilnadu have been organizing opposition to this nuclear power since 1988 when the Indian and Russian governments collaborated with big energy corporations and agreed to build this plant with no public information or input.

So when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, United States stepped in hoping for their own piece of the Indian nuclear pa[indistinct] and eased India’s way into Nuclear Suppliers Group. The project was slated to move forward. Last year, the Fukushima nuclear disaster renewed concerns about the impact of nuclear plants on the health and safety of people living nearby. In August 2011, just five months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, protests in Tamilnadu picked up, with over sixty villages opposed [indistinct] people engaging in hunger strikes. Since then, the protests have escalated, with thousands of fisher people and residents staging protests in the waters around the nuclear plant.

We sat down with V. Geetha and Nityanand Jayaraman, members of the Chennai Solidarity Group, who have been working on the grounds to support the protests against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

My name is Nityanand Jayaraman. I am a writer, researcher and also a volunteer with the Chennai Solidarity Group for the Koodankulam struggle.

My name is V. Geetha. I am writer and historian. I’ve been working with the Chennai Solidarity Group which supports the struggle against the nuclear plant in Koodankulam.

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marie Choi – There’s been opposition to the plant for years and years, but was there something that shifted in August 2011? 

V. Geetha – Fukushima of course, which brought to reality what can happen in case a nuclear reactor goes in to danger. Also, what was happening in Japan, I think, that triggered off a major sort of anxiety about the plant. But, prior to that, I think, the people who have been coordinating the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy have been doing a lot of work on the ground. They’ve been going from village to village and trying to persuade people that this not such a good thing, and there may be jobs for a few, but in the end it’s really going to sort off affect their communities, their resources, their right to livelihood, their future and so on. So, I think, both these things came together and then people decided enough was enough. And they decide to this sort of prolonged sit-ins in their villages. The fishers, of course, have been the most vociferous, because they stand to be immediately affected since their livelihood depends on the sea. But, everyone else has pitched in as well. Those that do farming, small shopkeepers, teachers, just about everybody else that keeps a community going. I think, what has happened is that something which would have been just a routine government decision has become something that people have started talking about. They are talking about the environment. They are talking about safety issues. And they are also raising very fundamental questions about what kind of electricity do we need.

Marie Choi – Can you talk a little about why this particular nuclear power project is so important nationally within India?

Nityanand Jayaraman – I don’t know who it is important for. Certainly not for me. For the government, it has become both an issue of prestige and also, I think, it is payback time. With the nuclear deal with India and Russia, where India was seeking a way out of its, kind of, you know, it hadn’t planned much of its stake as far as the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s concerned. The Americans tried to mediate and tried ease the way for India to join the nuclear club without risks. As a result, it is now payback time. Corporations from Russia, from France, and from America would like a piece of the nuclear vibe. There’s supposedly a huge market in India. If all the plants that the government has proposed to build are constructed, there is a lot of money to be made. The Government of India is caught in a diplomatic bind, where it has promised to foreign governments access to India’s nuclear markets. This is not about India’s energy security. It is about honoring the debt, honoring the legitimate concerns of the corporations that might have bailed India out or helped India, the lobbying capacity of the Government of the United States.

V. Geetha – I would actually see it in the larger context of what is happening in countries like India, which is that a lot of communities dependent on natural resources, whether it’s the sea, the forest or the rivers, are being told that they must give over their resources to companies that are interested in mining, that are interested in generating electricity for the industrial use. And these communities are faced basically [with] a very drastic choice – that they give up their traditional ways of living, or they give up their dependence on natural resources, come to the city as cheap labour and work, or they protest and face the consequences.

Marie Choi – I’m curious. Do you see any connection between the nuclear energy projects and broader militarization?

V. Geetha – It may not be easy to make direct connections with absence of public information. But, one can safely say that the nuclear establishment whether it is concerned with civilian uses or for military uses is completely untransparent. You are simply not able to find out who makes decisions, on what basis are these decisions made. And anyone who interrogates the nuclear establishment, even the civilian nuclear establishment stands to be seen as an enemy of the State. So you have this very absurd and menacing scenario, where ordinary fisher folks of a village next to the plant, over 2000 of them have been charged with Sedition. So that should give you a sense of how the Government of India treats nuclear power, you know, capability. It’s obviously a matter of State secrecy, it’s matter that’s beyond civilian control, and the government’s, sort of, determined to keep it that way.

Links to Report on the Convention against Sedition and other Repressive Laws. PUCL.

Marie Choi – And, can you explain what Sedition means?

V. Geetha – Well… You know, as I said, it’s absurd and menacing. Certainly, because it’s ridiculous to charge a 14 year old with Sedition or 75 year old with Sedition, right? That’s whats being done! The Sedition law goes back to colonial times. It was used by the British to arrest Indian freedom fighters. And it’s a shame that we haven’t been able to take the law of our statued books. There’s been a campaign by civil liberties, civil rights group to do that. But, that hasn’t really ended. What’s happened over the years is that it is used by the State to quell dissent of any kind. And once you’re booked under Sedition Law, of course you’re allowed access to the courts..you may hear, you know, opt to defend yourself, you may have lawyers defending you, but it can mean a very protracted trial. And that can be very despairing for people who are poor, and who don’t want to be caught in this scenario, and who are merely protesting their right to, to retain their right to livelihood. So that’s on the one hand. On the other hand, you have the entire hysteria that can be whipped up around Sedition by the Media, by right-wingers, by those that are not supportive of people’s struggles. So. Whatever happens in the courts is one thing, but in the public eye this can create a lot of discomfort as well.

Marie Choi – If you are tried for Sedition and found guilty, then what happens to you? 

V. Geetha – Depending on the actual particular instance, which has earned you this label of being a seditionist. You could be imprisoned for life. You could have a very long jail term. And the worst case scenario is, if your name has been linked, whatever that means, if it has been proved that you’ve inflicted murder, you could face capital punishment.

Marie Choi – I’m also curious how class is being used? With all that’s going around this particular nuclear power plant. I mean, I’ve been seeing reports that they’ve been cutting power to people, even in the surrounding areas. But, a lot of it has been appealed to the middle class as well this energy is for you, this is to support your lifestyle, how is that played out? How real are those claims? 

Nityanand Jayaraman – In a sense, this kind of fixation on electricity, is essentially a class issue. If you look at what’s being talked about here that the nuclear power plant is crucial for India’s energy security, not electricity security, but energy security. We need to have efficient policies of how we can conserve on the transportation needs, how we can vamp up our public transportation, subsidize public transportation, and penalize private transportation and cars. I think, that there is a mis-match. I see electricity which is only 12% of the energy basket, to cooking which is a major issue. Our preoccupation if it were on cooking fuel, I think we would say that this is a society that tries towards equity. But the focus is on electricity. I think electricity is important, for people like me it is crucial both to conduct my work and everything else. The power cuts are real. I don’t think.. There might be orchestrated to some extent. But there is a scarcity of electricity. Are these electricity cuts equitably distributed? No. Yet, the IT companies, the Hyundai Motors, the Ford car company, these guys have 24/7 electricity. But children who want to study in the evening do not have electricity. The small entrepreneurs, the small, you know, people who run small workshops, they don’t have electricity. So the people who are being hardest hit are the people who can least afford it. And the people who are not being hit, are luxury consumers of electricity, like software companies and car manufacturers.

Marie Choi – Why is this something that people who don’t live in that area, who come from different class background, why is it something that they should care about?

V. Geetha – It is very, sort of, painful to watch ordinary people being made to go through such difficulties. I think there is a sense of social justice that people in the cities are sensitive to. I mean, this is not a large number obviously. But, there are enough people that  feel quite annoyed that their government is doing this to its own people. That’s on the one hand. Then of course, I think, there’s been a very real concern about nuclear energy. And I must say, Fukushima has played a very important role at least in sensitizing this generation of people to what a nuclear disaster could actually result in. That is also an important aspect to be kept in mind. And thirdly, post-tsunami 2004 there’s been a general sense of anxiety about what the sea can do, because the sea really caught everyone unaware. And those that live in the coastline, like in the city where I live, Chennai’s a coastal city, there’s also a sense that the coast is not something you can treat lightly, it follows rhythms that we don’t quite understand and we may not want to tamper with its natural rhythms over much. People also come to that from that understanding.

Anti-nuclear protest, near Idinthakarai, Koodankulam. September 13, 2012. (Photograph by Amirthraj Stephen)

Marie Choi – Four hundred days of sustained protest. What is it that sustained that?

Fisherfolk of this part of the country have a reputation for being fearless and militant. There’s that. [indistinct] That’s also, they will tell you if you ask them why, “Everyday we face death in the sea, so what do we have to fear?” So there’s that sense of romantic disregard for life. But, I also think that there is a certain disciplined organizing that has come about because the local communities have stood by them and the local church groups which have organized fisherfolk in particular have been very supportive. The Catholic church is very strong in these parts. And local members of the Catholic Church, I’m not talking about the Catholic hierarchy, but the local members of the Catholic Church have always been very involved in civic issues. And that has gone both ways. It has also meant that they support they most powerful amongst the fishing groups or they take the part of the more subaltern and the more oppressed. In this case, I think, the fact that everyone rallies around for a meeting when the church bell is struck, you know, that’s how they call people for a meeting. It’s also meant that they feel a sort of ethical, spiritual sense of doing this together in the name of something that is beyond us, not God so much, but the name of a nature that includes us, includes the natural world that is non-human. So there is that as well.

Marie Choi – If everything goes you’ll way, what does that look like? 

Nityanand Jayaraman – We would like to have this nuclear programme ended, at least for now. And the plant not commissioned. And the plant used for something that is saner, I don’t know what that is. The other thing is that the government should drop the cases that were filed against the people of Idinthakarai and Koodankulam. More than 300 cases have been filed against about 150000 people. 10,000 people have been charged with Sedition and waging war against the state. This is the response a democratic state has had to bunch of people protesting nonviolently for more than a year. Among the people who are charged with Sedition and Waging War Against the State are also children. I think, that, they must drop these. And if they have the courage, apologize sincerely to the people of Idinthakarai and thank them for trying to bring sanity in to India…

The music played in the background is ‘Song of the Coastal Lilies’, (Neythalin Paadal), a movement song  by Pedestrian pictures

***

This English transcript was done by volunteers in Chai Kadai. Feel free to share, copy, distribute and translate this transcript under this Creative Commons license. Please attribute the podcast interview to APEX Express. 

Chai Kadai. (chaikadai.wordpress.com | chaikadai@gmail.com)

 

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Dangers at Kudankulam – Mainstream Weekly

Anti-nuclear protests in Idinthakarai, Koodankulam

The dangers present at Kudankulam, Idinthakarai and surrounding areas are several, but they can be separated into two categories, namely, dangers as seen by government and as seen by people. This is not to imply that government is not legitimate, because it has been elected by the people. But from what follows it is apparent that the government is not for the people.

via Dangers at Kudankulam – S G Vombatkare – Mainstream Weekly. 29 September 2012

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