I endorse the statement. CPI (M) is still in the Stalinist era. It is the irrelevace of this party and its Karats and Yechuries which drives it to repeated irrational nonsense against grassroots and down-to-earth leaders like VS.
Mr Tamilselvan, it is an outright lie to say that "none from the CPI(M) visited the protest site for the first 400 days of the protest" . I would like to point out to you and others through this message that Com Nagai Mali, MLA from Nagapattinam of Tanjavur district visited the protest site and was with them ,comforting and consoling them sometime in the month of june or july . I can produce proof for this. Please dont spread outright lies out of your blind anti CPI(M) attitude that "the CPI(M) started shedding tears suddenly after the last month police attack. The CPI(M) never stated :shoot them out or smoke them out" Where from you got such idea about the CPI(M), I am wondering. The CPI(M) is always opposed to the repression against the KNPP Protesters.
It is necessary for all left and progressive forces to close ranks in support of the Kudankulam anti-nuclear agitation.
The signature campaign could have been against nuclear power plant in koodankulam rather than in solidarity with VS
Don’t Impose The Koodankulam Reactors
Nuking protests mocks democracy
By Praful Bidwai
Even the most zealous supporters of nuclear power generation should logically concede three things to their opponents. First, after the grave disaster at Fukushima, it is natural for people everywhere to be deeply sceptical of the safety claims made for nuclear power, and for governments to phase out atomic reactors. That’s exactly what’s happening in countries like Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and now Japan.
Second, nuclear power, like all technologies and all development projects, should be promoted democratically, with the consent of the people living in their vicinity, and with scrupulous regard for the rule of law and civil liberties. And third, safety must be given paramount importance in reactor construction and operation, with strict adherence to norms and procedures and full compliance with rules laid down by an independent safety authority.
The way the government has dealt with the opponents of the Koodankulam nuclear reactors being built in Tamil Nadu violates all three red lines egregiously. Rather than treat opposition to nuclear power for its hazards as natural, logical and an indication of citizens’ engagement with the world, the Department of Atomic Energy and its subsidiary Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd see dementia in it—a pathological condition to be cured by psychiatrists to be especially invited from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore.
The government has all along demonised the Koodankulam project’s opponents. Prime Minister and the Home Minister, no less, vilified them as inspired by “foreign-funded” NGOs without an iota of evidence or taking action against them for such offences as they might have committed in diverting overseas funds meant for other uses.
The government recently deported a German tourist living in a Rs 200-a-day room for “masterminding” and financing the agitation. Last week, it summarily deported three Japanese activists who were planning to visit Koodankulam.
All this shows serious official disconnect with nuclear realities. Globally, nuclear power has long been in decline. The number of reactors peaked 10 years ago, and their installed capacity plateaued in 2010 at 375 GW (gigawatt=1,000 megawatts). It’s down to 364 GW. Nuclear’s share of global power generation has declined from its peak of 17 percent to about 11 percent.
Even if many new reactors are built post-Fukushima, the global nuclear industry will shrink to less than half its size by 2025. With increasingly adverse public opinion, and rising reactor costs—up threefold over a decade—the decline could become terminal. Jeff Immelt of General Electric, one of the world’s largest suppliers of atomic equipment, says nuclear power is “really hard to justify”.
However, blind to this, India continues its Nuclear March of Folly, now with imported reactors of unproven design. The government has unleashed savage repression against grassroots anti-nuclear protesters. In Koodankulam, the use of force has been relentless since 1988, when live bullets were first used against peaceful agitators.
Over the past year, hundreds of FIRs have been lodged against several thousand people (according to one estimate, an incredible 55,000 people), with many charged with sedition and waging war against the state—read, organising peaceful protests without one violent incident.
It’s hard to think of an episode in India, including the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, or the 1992 Babri demolition, where the state has charged so many people with such grave offences. This shows the lengths to which the government is willing to go to ram the project down people’s throats.
On September 10, the police launched a vicious lathi and tear-gas attack on peaceful protesters near the plant’s boundary wall although they were obstructing nobody’s movements. The police literally drove many agitators into the sea, molested women, arrested scores of people and looted their homes. A fisherman was killed in police firing. Several people are reported missing.
A fact-finding team led by Justice BG Kolse-Patil and senior journalist Kalpana Sharma has since visited Koodankulam, Idinthakarai and nearby villages. It describes the situation there as a “reign of terror”, marked by “extreme and totally unjustified” use of force, physical abuse, vindictive detention of 56 people including juveniles, and harassment of women. Such thug-like police behaviour, it says, “has no place in a country that calls itself democratic”.
Yet, repression of grassroots movements against destructive “development” projects is becoming part of a deplorable pattern in India. No socially desirable project can ever be built on the ashes of our citizens. This in and of itself is a strong reason to oppose the Koodankulam reactors, and prevent another horrifying precedent of state brutality.
The government’s conduct is especially reprehensible because the Prime Minister last year suspended work at Koodankulam on the promise of fully allaying people’s apprehensions regarding safety. But he had no real intention of doing so.
The sarkari experts he appointed didn’t even bother to meet the people’s representatives or answer their queries about the site’s vulnerability to tsunamis, volcanic activity and earthquakes. They certified everything as “100 percent” safe, which is scientifically untenable.
People’s fears grew as NPCIL refused to share relevant information with them, including the Site Evaluation and the Safety Analysis Reports. Despite a Right to Information request, a legal petition and a Parliament question, NPCIL refuses to disclose the text of an Indo-Russian intergovernmental agreement, which reportedly absolves the reactors’ supplier of any liability for an accident.
This puts a disturbing question-mark over the official claim that the reactors are safe, and accidents are all but impossible. If so, why is the supplier evading liability?
That brings us to the third factor mentioned above: NPCIL’s non-compliance with safety protocols, and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s approval for fuel-loading in breach of its own norms and rules. This is a grim story. Last year, following Fukushima, the AERB set up under state orders a Task Force to suggest improvements in reactor safety. This made 17 recommendations pertaining to freshwater and power backup, improved sensors and instrumentation, etc.
The Koodankulam plant isn’t compliant with as many as 11 of the 17 conditions. The AERB first told the Madras High Court that it wouldn’t permit fuel-loading unless full compliance was established. But within four days, it made an about-turn—probably under pressure from the government.
As the Comptroller and Accountant General has established in a recent report, the AERB lacks independence and is totally subservient to the government. On August 10, it permitted NPCIL to start nuclear fuel loading in the first reactor. This is wrong and dangerous, and shows reckless disregard for safety procedures.
The AERB is guilty of yet more safety violations. Its own rules for siting reactors say that there must be absolutely no population in the “exclusion zone” covering a 1.6-km radius from the plant, and that the population in the next radial zones must be thin—under 20,000 in the 5-km area, etc. Now, as anyone who has been to Koodankulam will testify, a tsunami rehabilitation colony, with 450 tenements, stands less than 1 km from the plant. At least 40,000 people live within a 5-km radius.
The AERB, supposedly the public’s nuclear watchdog, has turned a blind eye to this glaring fact for years. It must be brought to book for this grossly negligent conduct.
Equally disgraceful is the AERB’s failure to enforce another of its own rules which stipulates that no fuel-loading be permitted until an off-site emergency preparedness drill is completed within a 16-km radius under the joint supervision of NPCIL, the district administration, the state government and the National Disaster Management Authority. This involves full evacuation procedures, with prior warning, identification of routes, commandeering of vehicles, and clear instructions to the public.
No such drill was ever conducted. And yet, the AERB granted clearance to initial fuel-loading. It’s hard not to call this roguish behaviour which plays with the public’s life.
This cannot be remotely justified on the ground that Tamil Nadu faces an acute power shortage. The Koodankulam reactor will add just 5 percent to the state’s power capacity. By contrast, its transmission and distribution loss is 18 percent, and can be reduced greatly. Besides, Tamil Nadu has 7,000 MW of wind turbine capacity, India’s highest share. Less than half this potential is tapped thanks to a mis-designed grid. Grid correction can be made at a minor expense.
Under the pressure of domestic and international atomic lobbies, India is loath to abandon nuclear power although the world is rapidly doing so. The process is fastest in the OECD countries, which account for 70 percent of the world’s 429 reactors. There are just two reactors under construction in the West. Both are mired in safety problems, long delays and 130 percent-plus cost overruns.
Even France, which gets 80 percent of its electricity from atomic reactors—a fact the global nuclear industry repeats as if that were clinching proof of its own safety and reliability—will reduce its nuclear dependence to 50 percent by 2025.
As nuclear power declines, clean, safe, flexible renewable sources like wind and solar are fast expanding. Global investment in these has grossed $1 trillion since 2004. Their costs are falling dramatically. Renewables are the world’s energy future.
PS: He endorsed the statement over email. This article has appeared in a number of papers, including The Kashmir Times, Assam Tribune, Lokmat, etc.
Wholeheartedly do I endorse the statement and express my soldarity with Comrade VS on his clear and commendable stand on Koodankulam.
I am deeply dismayed at the public censure of Comrade VS Achuthanandan by CPI(M). I join you and endorse the statement in solidarity with com. VS.
Harsh Kapoor/ sacw.net
So, the Party Apparatus with its brute strength has forced VS to accept all his 'mistakes'...Visit to TP Chandrashekaran's house, equating Pinarayi with Dange, stand on Kudankulam....They have finally had their way
To the now anonymous Mr. Khan, I should reply that my brief analysis of the Eurozone crisis is not about drawing any parallel between Britain's colonization of India, but, yes, it is about a 'deliberate omission' of EU's peace-making role. I am simply asking for contextualizing a Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 with the current eurozone crisis, which is in my view as much a creation of the EU's financial speculators as that of a US based world casino system. Nowhere in my response I claim that there was a surplus extraction between Greece and western countries in the way it was between Britain and India- my reference to Marx was just to show the internal contradictions of an EU policy which Mr. Khan admits to be exploitative and manipulative in the Third World, but hails on the grounds that it has generated peace in EU. This latter claim, I felt, was the central point of contestation. The Olympian broad brushes with which the official EU academy legitimises itself as a peace-making body are then irrelevant, nothing but the purest ideological deceptions ever under the garb of pseudo-internationalism.
Contrary to what Mr. Khan would like me to believe, the putting of the crisis 'in a larger frame instead of hurling of specifics' seems very much the way of shrugging of the EU's responsibility for the crisis. The only 'larger framer' which he has to offer is that fiscal debt is not shared among EU countries. I totally agree. But the question is that why the 3% rule was not imposed on Germany and France. Is not the gap between fiscal and monetary an institutional failure of EU itself? If as Mr. Khan says, 'THIS IS WHY the SGP was agreed upon to keep the deficit/debt under check (3/60% of the GDP)', then the question arises why this 3% limit so fixed when it is detrimental to everyone's interest? What Mr. Khan thinks to be the end of story is just the beginning. SGP was not for preventing overborrowing but it is what induced the Greek government ( a postpolitical technocracy) to borrow from the financial markets. All of it suits the financial market, of whose representative is EU. One wonders if there can be an iota of evidence to show that EU's official bureaucracy is planning about sharing debt among its members. In Khan's account, this reluctance to share debt is ascribed due to German nationalism. What if this 'German nationalist sentiment' is very much a part of the EU's bureaucracy, which has allowed Germany (and also France) to have a higher fiscal debt and has even relaxed the rules in 2005 to allow them a higher deficit- crucial for their so-called industrial development? The same relaxations were not given to the so-called PIIGS countries. Why should not the fiscal deficit that France and Germany had give them an undue advantage over countries which are now denied to spend on employment and social services as part of 'austerity measures'? France and Germany also cannot print Euros unlike UK and USA can print pounds and dollars. And, why ignore the fact that all over the world powerful countries have imposed a highly immoral fiscal conservatism upon the developing world (India 'self-condemned' itself under UPA I with the FRBM act) while keeping their own fiscal deficits burgeoning to astronomical scales (USA being the prime example')? All over modern history, western countries have manipulated terms of trade to favour their own development, not just in the era of IMF and GATT but also in the era of colonialism (who can forget the infamous Opium Wars?).
Second, to the neo(n)-liberal mind of Mr. Khan any mentioning of word 'competitiveness' seems to be thrillingly. So, I am made to 'admit' that Germany had higher competitiveness than Greece. The point, however, is that Germany had acquired this so-called competitiveness by compressing domestic wages, even at the cost of the health of its own working population, and Greece had been overwhelmed because speculators found its position suitable. It is not so much the case of nationalist selfishness on part of Germany but the interests of match-fixers and speculators which are anyway free of any nationalist attachment. The 'larger frame' is what is to be rejected: binding countries in a zero sum competitive game which ultimately ruins most of them.
If the point of historical self-deceptions of EU is indeed so relevant, then it must be made clear that in the post-WWII scenario there was simply no chance that Germany could overwhelm France in a war. Germany had been divided step by step into two or even three parts. As late Prof. Hobsbawm writes in his Age of Extremes, any realistic anti-soviet (NATO) plan in Europe had to be based upon a German re-armament, which was contrary to what the French would have liked. The 'European Coal and Steel Community' was definitely proposed by the French to neutralize the German threat, but it was simultaneously created by and against USA. To quote Hobsbawm, 'even though the USA was unable to imposed its politico-economic plans on the Europeans in detail, it was strong enough to dominate their international behaviour'. The only US-independent world policy which western Europe pursued was aborted in 1956 (the Suez) and the best an alliance partner could do was to evade complete integration into USA's plans without leaving the alliance (de Gaulle). The foreign policy of western countries was simply a US policy, and a war between Germany and France was highly unlikely, let alone a world war like the WWII in which Germany would face USA and France together. USSR's chief adversary position was simply incontestable. What peace-making role a bankers' union could play when one is profoundly dependent upon the US. Honestly speaking, the Nobel Peace Prize for maintaining peace between Germany and France should be given to USA!
It is really sad to see pamphlet revolutionaries are bringing out resolutions of protest against KK Nuke plant, but deeming it indiscipline when a mass leader is translating that in the ground. And on what basis is he 'publicly' censured? For certain parts of his comments apparently do not match with the fine prints of CPI(M)'s position on 123 nuke deal. Lame! And without any idea of mass politics!
And they see 'vested' interest when someone questions the right deviations within the Party, and of certain 'comrades' like 2 BBs, Nirupam and Lakshman. What vested interest do Antonys have? I hope they have one, or they are just old fool, as opposed to "yesterday's kids" like srinir and others who are rightly questioning right deviation of the CPI(M).
Unfortunately, vested interest of the CPI(M) is clear; hobnobbing with Jayalalitha. Shame.
For the first 400 days of the protest none from the CPIM had ever visited the protest site, Instead their party organ Theekathir was up in arms calling the Ameican money, Church driven protest against a wonderful Russian initiative. The party ws just in a shoot them out or in the voice of George Bush, 'Smoke the Out' thru the 400 days. They brick batted the protestors on a dialy basis thru the 400 days and all of a sudden after the police attack last month they started shedding tears. We have been on the ground for the past 425 days. Its good u all read what the left had to say about kudankulam in this article: Indian Left And The Nuclear Hypocrisy available at
PS: Received over email
I endorse the statement.
CPI (M) facilitated installation of NPP at Haripur in West Bengal as well. Was defeated by peoples' protest.
Secretary, National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF)
PS: I received his statement over email.
Please don't be so naive as to suggest that there are no similarities in the ideological-political deviations in the party in west bengal and kerala. they are for all to see.
Indeed. If the argument is that the plants cant be commissioned unless safety features are guaranteed and protestors' fears allayed, then it is a position worth agreeing. My question to you is, do you think you can censure someone for basically showing solidarity with the protestors who are also agitated about the hurried commissioning of the plants?
Also, if you have a position on the censure, please make it clear. Instead of targetting individual signatories.
Dear Srini, Since you have signed the petition. I would like to draw your attention to your own Facebook update of September 17. It says "Prakash Karat explains his party's position on the Kudankulam power plants. I agree with the position." What do you want to say? Abdul
PT, your reply suffers from a deliberate omission and selective exaggeration.
You deliberately omit the singular role played by the EU and its various institutions to bring reconciliation and peace between France and Germany (and other member-states), and respect for human rights and spread of democracy in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe and Balkans. You brush it aside it by calling “historical imagery EU's official academics offers”. It would have enriched and further facilitated the debate, had you provided the analysis offered by Marxist academicians. There is little left to argue after this.
However, your selective exaggeration of the Greek and the Eurozone crisis, blamed all on the EU through an extremely erroneous example of British colonisation of India needs to be cut down to size. And, no less the criticisms of EU’s external policies.
It will be better if the Eurozone and Greek sovereign debt crises are put in a larger frame instead of hurling of specifics. Eurozone is a monetary union without being a fiscal union. This is unprecedented and unusual. If one looks at the deficit/debt of the UK and the US, these were/are not much different. But since Greece’s central bank is no more the lender of the last resort it can’t print Euro unlike the US’s Fed and UK’s Bank of England to pay off their respective countries debt. This is why the SGP was agreed upon to keep the deficit/debt under check (3/60% of the GDP). Now, the Greeks made two mistakes. First, they over-borrowed, second, they became uncompetitive as you agree, PT. Over-borrowing made further borrowing prohibitively costly while un-competiveness led to contraction and unemployment. Now, what you appear to suggest is to punish the Germans/Dutch/Finns etc. for their competitiveness vis-à-vis the PIIGS because if there is a rise in their wages without corresponding rise in productivity, the businesses will flee leading to job losses. This is what happens when the French car companies relocate to relatively low-wage Central European countries. While sputtering Marxist bias and preferences, there is an absence of the solution in your reply. The solution is a correction of the first and real mistake i.e. establishment of a fiscal union along with the monetary union. However, nationalism is such an evil, you know PT, even when it doesn’t manifests itself in the form of war, it rises in the form of apathy towards other people and country. While Germans know that their prosperity comes from being part of the Single Market and the EMU, they aren’t ready to even partly mutualise the Eurozone’s debt like through the issuance of a common bond. Merkel is too hesitant and minded by the polls. Anyway! For the moment, Greeks need to try to become competitive and frugal. But again harshly imposed frugality isn’t really working, it seems. So, I think that the Greeks need more time to become relatively competitive and frugal which also help the Golden Dawn reach the dusk. However, in the long run the Eurozone needs to converge towards a fiscal union.
Regarding the external policies of the EU, I am wondering, what is the Marxist position on the European agricultural policy. Anyway, EU’s support to dictators in North Africa can’t really be generalised as you would prefer. However, the EU has done many good too on foreign front. Along with the member-states, it gives more than ½ of the total ODA. The same is true for the humanitarian aid. It gives duty and quota free access to all the LDCs. It gives preferential access to imports from many developing countries. It has helped in the management of crisis and maintenance of peace in many non-EU countries (see: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/eeas/security-defence/eu-operations). It has abolished the death penalty and working for the same in many countries. It has the most progressive stance on climate change. It has helped for the abolition of the use of anti-personnel landmines. If, it has supported dictators in North Africa, Middle East and yes Pakistan, then it has poked and pushed them in Belarus, Burma and Africa. The point of all these is that I see the “causal link” which you want me see as you should see the good efforts too. But the positives of the EU far exceed its negatives.
in support of the statement
writer and journalist and anti nuke campaigner
VS Achuthanandan's position is also "in consonance" with Sitaram Yechury's position opposing nuclear power. as you argue, Sitaram's position is "in consonance" with Prakash Karat's, who is opposed to the proliferation of nuclear power. That means VS is "in consonance" with Prakash Karat's position too. The question is why has VS been censured then??
mr. ganesh, the signatories who have gone out or have been pushed out of the cpim are also activists having political views. just like you have a right to further your activities, they have a right to do the same. you seem to be caught up in the bureaucratic logic of seeking "state party unit's permission" before taking a political stand. would you seek permission of the haryana state committee of the cpim to condemn atrocities on dalits and women in haryana? when would persons like you understand that such absurdities are damaging the image of the cpim and the left. and comrade VS is perfectly within his right to take up the kudankulam issue because it affects the lives and livelihoods of fisherfolk in kerala too. moreover, poor people in tamil nadu - many of them are dalits - are protesting against the kudankulam plant. please explain what is your stand on their protest, rather than passing judgements on VS and the signatories of the statement.
The discussion of whether the need nuclear energy or not would be primary point of discussion, rather the plant has to go through an independent safety approval. Acceptance of KNPP passing and safety auditing wouldn’t make any difference in the people livelihood there. I would rather see a campaign against nuclear energy which will be creating issues to people in any aspect, rather a debate of passing the independent safety approval would portrait the nuclear energy as the only effective alternate source.
Ref Com Sitaram Yechury's article in HT . Unlike in the case of Com Acuthanandan , his views are in consonance with the position of the party which Com Prakash has articulated in his Peoples Democracy article of Sept 16.
" We can not accept the government's energy plan which involves a big thrust for nuclear power. India's growing energy requirement will need continuing emphasis on utilizing its mass coal reserves , more reliance on natural gas and the development of new sources like solar energy.
" The Prime Minister's delusion of nuclear 'renaissance' and the government plan to dot the country with imported mega nuclear power parks must be resolutely opposed.The various movements of the people developing against imported nuclear plants should be made into a national movement ''
By seeing the names of the signatories, it seems that the people who went out of CPI(M) have a plan to further their activities. As far as, Comrade VS Achuthanandan's support to this issue, take for instance, can a CPI(M) leader from Tamil Nadu or Karnataka go to Kerala with its State Party unit's permission to take up an issue...?? It is not in the tune of organisational set-up. Senior leader like VS should desist from doing such things.
Dr. Ambedkar Education-Employment Coaching Centre
It seems that you have got inside information within the Party apparatus on the happenings vis-a-vis VS in the party structure. You seem to point out that VS has accepted his mistakes and agreed with the criticism. However, no solid verified reports have appeared anywhere on this matter. Also, the report in Mangalam daily, you seem to be hinting at, is not gaining any facevalue. In fact, the report here on Indiavision points to a totally different picture. http://www.indiavisiontv.com/2012/10/16/123223.html
It clearly points to the intense pressure being exerted by the party leadership at the state-level, which is steeped with yes-men of the State Secretary, on VS to force him to backtrack from his consistent stands on not only Kudankulam, but also on TP Chandrashekaran's killing and make him publicly say that he stands with the party's position. Similarly, the party also is hell-bent on making VS apologize on his political statements vis-a-vis Pinarayi Vijayan being compared with Dange. This is nothing but show of sheer might and brute force to throttle dissent from within. Instead of looking within and correcting the wrong understandings, this is only aimed at accentuating the malaise further.