Monday, 19 March 2012

Death of Democracy

Democracy Died Today in Tamil Nadu. At 3 pm. Democracy died for men, women, young, old, and of all faiths, living in the vicinity of the Koodankulam power plant and opposed to this nuclear monstrosity for the last eight months - staking their all in this struggle for life.

Democracy Died today when people became mere pawns in political games of a powerful few, who could wilfully decide whose and how many lives should be sacrificed, when.

Democracy Died when national good was no longer about any larger or common or good; when the dictates of life or free will of many could be sacrificed to absurdities and whims of leadership with enormous and self-appropriated powers. Democracy is not a bully's weapon for imposing sacrifices on some, to benefit others.

Democracy Died today when fundamental rights to life and livelihood were bartered for the sake of money already spent, on an unnecessary technology - too risky for liability, and in areas of volatile seismicity - without consideration of benign alternatives.

Democracy died today with a single nod to the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant. And, yet, can the will of so many be denied? Will their voices and their will, not jolt the nation out of its slumber? Will this Death of Democracy itself bear seeds of a new generation, of true freedom, and of a truly awakened nation?

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Why Koodankulam Nuclear Plant Cannot be Allowed to Happen: Voices of Women from the Area

Hon’rable Chief Minister,
Tamil Nadu                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            16/3/12

Re: Why Koodankulam Nuclear Plant Cannot be Allowed to Happen: Voices of Women from the Area

Dear Madam,

We write to you as women against KKNPP and also as emissaries on behalf of mothers, sisters, daughters who have been in staunch and steadfast opposition to the project., KKNPP will irrevocably ruin lives and livelihood of many future generations, if allowed to  operate. We do want energy and electricity for our homes, villages and communities. Yet, as women, we resolutely oppose KKNPP because
1. We will not be mute observers to a real threat of a nuclear accident which depends on occurrence of natural disaster, guarantee of technical safeguards, and also, very importantly, human error and terrorist attack. To claim any nuclear plant is 100% safe is a deliberate falsehood.
2. The impact of radiation on biological and reproductive health of women and girls in particular has been well documented around nuclear power plants. We cannot endanger lives and health, current and future, of our families, our people, our communities, our land, our air , our water, our sea , and our seafood  because the GoI deems us expendable. We urge you to please put the welfare of the people of your state before the irrational nuclear ambitions of GoI.
3. Nuclear Energy is unnecessary. There are sufficient alternate and renewable options for Tamil Nadu. Immediate solutions include enormous gains via conservation (example switching to CFL bulbs, solar thermal water heaters) and reduction in transmission losses which eliminates the need for such large, complex, unsafe technologies.
4. Many countries are moving away from a nuclear option to meet their energy needs. Current generation nuclear technologies with a high cost of insurance undermine nuclear power being the 'cheapest' energy option - as promoted by the industry. Post Fukushima, and with China entering the photo-voltaic market, solar energy will soon be competitive in providing a viable safe and renewable power alternative.
5. KKNPP has unanswered and unresolved technical issues like the known seismic activity of the region; it is also the only nuclear plant in the world that depends entirely on the desalination plant for its entire fresh water supply. 

We write to you from Idinthakarai, the seat of people's opposition movement. What we saw here, inspired us and moved our hearts. Womenfar outweighed men in sheer numbers, their intensity, their loud and vocal opposition, and their complete commitment to the cause. We saw women sit for eight hours without food, water, carrying babies in their arms, and transfixed in attention to what was been spoken on the strage. They had taken to streets, under sun, rain and the elements, to protect their children and their future generations. Their faces showed that they had already crossed a threshold of no-return. They would protect their children and their lives at all cost. They have been at the forefront of a battle for life itself. We urge you, please, to take their side; please take our side, and call an immediate halt to this mindless project.

Arati Chokshi (People’s Union for Civil Liberties - PUCL)
Lalita Ramdas (Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament & Peace –CNDP)
Gowru Chinnapa (People’s Union for Civil Liberties - PUCL)
Raminder Kaur (Anthropologist)
Dipti Desai (JANASTU) &
Thousands of Women from the KKNPP Struggle Area