The Supreme Court verdict clearing the decks for commissioning the Kudankulam nuclear plant has come as a disappointment to the poor villagers located close to the project in Tamil Nadu. The court has said public interest is more important. How can the legitimate fear of individuals be overlooked? Villagers in and around the plant have no choice but to resign to their fate and move away from their own land for safety.
S.A. Thameemul Ansari,
The commissioning of the Kudankulam plant will no doubt benefit most people of Tamil Nadu, a State reeling under acute power shortage, but the lives of people in and around Idinthakarai are at an imminent peril. A few scientists say the project is safe while some others say it is unsafe. Should we opt for nuclear power when many countries around the world are phasing it out and closing down their nuclear plants?
Hats off to the people in and around Kudankulam who have put up a valiant fight to stall the commissioning of the nuclear plant. Most of them belong to the fishermen community, and the sacrifice they have made to continue with their struggle is laudable. Although nuclear scientists have vouched for the safety of the plant, only time will tell who is right — the protesters or the apex court which has preferred to go with the arguments put forth by the government.
Tharcius S. Fernando,
The judges have rightly said the benefits of Kudankulam outweigh minor radiological detriments. Can we do away with x-rays, CT scans, etc., because of their known detrimental effects? Can we do away with the use of fossil fuel vehicles due to the atmospheric pollution? They have become part of our lives and will remain so till we find safer alternatives.
Will the anti-nuclear protesters in Kudankulam resolve that they will not use the electricity generated by the nuclear plant?
Given India’s energy shortfall and growing needs, nuclear power is the only answer. It is cheap, plentiful and more efficient than fossil fuel. That the government must comply with all safety measures goes without saying. The concerns expressed by those opposed to the Kudankulam plant — on the safety of those living in and around the plant, disposal of toxic waste, fears following the Fukushima accident — are relevant and need to be addressed. As suggested by the Supreme Court, the government should withdraw the cases against the protesters.
The decision of the anti-nuclear plant protesters to reject the Supreme Court verdict is unfortunate. In a democracy, people have every right to question, oppose and agitate against the activities of the public and the private sector, when they perceive a threat to their lives and livelihood. They can adopt all democratic means to focus the attention of the government at the highest level.
Once the highest court of the land gives a verdict after due consideration, people should accept it. The protesters should cooperate with the authorities. Continuing to agitate will mean challenging the democratic system. No government can function under such circumstances.
Keywords: Kudankulam nuclear plant