Action follows PM's statement that some U.S.-based NGOs are behind Kudankulam stir
Close on the heels of the publication of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assertion in an interview in the latest issue of journal Science that some United States-based NGOs are behind the agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, the Centre on Friday announced the revocation of the licences of three NGOs.
Message to Moscow
Simultaneously, India told Russia, which is collaborating with India in the 2,000-MW plant, that the government was engaged in consultations with all stakeholders and appreciated Moscow's patience.
At ‘Comprehensive Foreign Office Consultations,' Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told Russia's First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov on Thursday that India was consulting various domestic constituencies and working on the opening of the first 1,000 MW unit, a process that would pave the way for operationalising the second unit six months later.
The Centre has offered half of the electricity to be produced to Tamil Nadu, where four more units have been planned.
Home Ministry probe
Talking to journalists on Friday, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy insisted that Dr. Singh's statement was based on a probe by the Home Ministry.
Mr. Narayanasamy said the licences of the three NGOs were cancelled after an inquiry by the Ministry found that they were diverting foreign funds for anti-nuclear plant campaign in Kudankulam.
The identity of the NGOs is not known.
“These NGOs were receiving funds from foreign countries for social service… such as helping the physically handicapped and eradication of leprosy, but these [the money] were used for the anti-nuclear [plant] protests,” he said.
Mr. Narayanasamy said, “In fact, the people who are agitating near the plant have been continuing their agitation for the past three months. People are being brought there in trucks from various villages. They are being given food.”
Amid the developments, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley urged Dr. Singh to elaborate on his statement. The government should come out with facts so that people could judge whether or not the charge against the NGOs was right. “Since he [the Prime Minister] has made this statement, the government should make the facts… public, so that the veracity of all this is known to the people of India, who are in a position to define what is correct.”
In the interview, Dr. Singh said: “[The] atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because these NGOs, mostly I think based in the United States, don't appreciate the need for our country to increase the energy supply.”
In another reference to protests against the use of genetic engineering for crops and in other sectors, he said: “There are NGOs, often funded from the United States and the Scandinavian countries, which are not fully appreciative of the development challenges our country faces.”
Kakodkar backs Manmohan
The former Atomic Energy Commission chief, Anil Kakodkar, shared Dr. Singh's sentiments, saying “a nuclear power plant cannot be put under siege the way it has happened now.”
It was strange that a large project ready for implementation which has met all safety requirements, even environmental and when there is tremendous shortage of electricity the country's development should become “hostage” to foreign forces, he noted.
“By just exploiting the Fukushima sentiment this entire thing has been built up,” he said adding ” a nuclear power plant cannot be put under a siege the way it has happened now.”
CPI leader D. Raja alleged that the Prime Minister was trying to isolate some of the worker NGOs, who are working among the people of Kudankulam