The Madras High Court on Friday cleared the decks for the commissioning of Units I and II of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), holding that there was no impediment to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd to proceed with the project. However, it made it clear that the regulatory authorities should periodically oversee the compliance and maintenance of standards of pollution.
“By taking note of the overall situation, we are of the view that the KKNPP in respect of Units I and II do not suffer from any infirmities either for want of any clearance from any of the authorities, including the MoEF, the AERB, the TNPCB and the Department of Atomic Energy, and there is absolutely no impediment for the NPCIL to proceed with the project,” a Division Bench comprising Justices P.Jyothimani and M.Duraiswamy said in its common order on a batch of writ petitions.
In its nearly 300-page order, the Bench said Tirunelveli District Collector should conduct offshore drill periodically in all villages. The Tamil Nadu government should initiate the developmental schemes contemplated by it for the villages around the plant immediately.
The court concurred with former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s suggestion to establish a multispecialty hospital with all facilities in the area, apart from establishing various schools with the CBSE and State government syllabus with hostel facilities.
Infrastructural facilities should be provided for fishermen for repair of mechanised boats in and around Kudankulam.
After going through the records, the specially constituted Bench held that there was no violation of environmental safeguards. Various safety and other aspects of the KKNPP were being monitored continuously by the authorities. As and when required, they could always give suitable directions for maintaining ecological balance.
An expert committee appointed by the State government had categorically stated that historically there had never been a big earthquake or tsunami in the Kudankulam area. Enormous safety measures had been taken by the government. “There is absolutely no reason to disbelieve the report of the Expert Committee appointed by the State Government,” the Bench observed.