The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has concerns about the safety of imported reactors for nuclear power plants coming up in the country following the India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement, Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said on Saturday.

At a briefing on the proceedings of the fourth day of the 20th party congress here, he was asked why the CPI(M) made no mention in its resolutions of the protests against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, triggered by safety concerns after the Fukushima disaster last year. He reasoned that the Kudankulam plant was an existing one, which had been generating electricity.

“We have concerns about the safety of imported nuclear power plants,” he said, noting that the plant at Kudankulam, like the one at Kaiga, had already been generating power. The Tamil Nadu secretary had made clear the party's stand on the protest against the Kudankulam plant, he said.

Double standards?

Mr. Yechury's response assumes significance in the backdrop of the criticism by anti-Kudankulam plant protesters that the Left parties were not supporting their agitation even when they were opposing the nuclear reactors coming up in the country as a result of the India-U.S. pact. Critics accused the Left parties of adopting double standards: they were protesting against the plant being set up at Jaitapur, but not against the Kudankulam plant.

V.S. Achuthanandan, however, is the only CPI(M) leader who has supported the protest against the Kudankulam plant, having announced recently that he would visit the protesters at Kudankulam after the congress.

Land reform

The congress has called for implementing land reforms by breaking the monopoly and the continuing caste, gender and other types of social oppression in rural areas. Stressing the need to mobilise the landless and rural poor for struggles to demand land distribution, the resolution took exception to what it called policies of reverse land reforms, which amounted to displacement of the peasantry from their land to facilitate corporate takeover.

Noting that there was extreme concentration of the ownership of agricultural holdings, the resolution said that as a result of neo-liberal policies and the consequent agrarian distress, the rural poor were under pressure to sell their assets.

Referring to the estimate that the potential of surplus land over the ceiling was 21 million hectares, the resolution said only a fraction of it had been declared surplus; the actual assignment was even less. The Left-led government in Tripura and the previous governments in Kerala and West Bengal had launched effective land reform programmes, it pointed out.

The resolution also termed “totally inadequate” the proposed Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act meant to replace the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

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