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Advani calls for reassessing nuclear power plants along coast

Staff Reporter
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He urges Centre to consider attacks on Tamil fishermen as a strategic problem

Advising caution: BJP leader L.K. Advani addressing a public meeting as part of his 38-day ‘Jan Chetna Yatra' in Madurai on Thursday. — Photo: S. James
Advising caution: BJP leader L.K. Advani addressing a public meeting as part of his 38-day ‘Jan Chetna Yatra' in Madurai on Thursday. — Photo: S. James

Nuclear power plants, particularly those near the coast such as the Kudankulam plant in Tirunelveli district, must be re-examined in the context of safety and security of the people, according to Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani.

“Countries world over have become cautious after the recent (Fukushima Daichii) nuclear disaster in Japan. Therefore, we (India) should also be cautious. Commercial considerations, such as the contracts already agreed upon, should not override the safety and security of the people of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

He was addressing a public meeting here on Thursday as part of his 38-day ‘Jan Chetna Yatra,' an anti-corruption tour across the country also meant to highlight stashing away of black money in tax havens abroad. The tour began in Bihar on October 11. It is slated to conclude in New Delhi on November 20.

He also impressed upon the Centre to consider the spate of attacks on Tamil fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy as a strategic problem affecting the security of the whole country rather than viewing it as a local problem. “Such attacks cannot be allowed,” he said.

Slamming the Centre, he said: “I have been active in politics since the framing of the Constitution in 1950 and I have had privilege of seeing all the general elections since 1952 to 2009. But I am sorry to say that I cannot think of a government more immersed in corruption than the present one and I cannot think of a weaker Prime Minister than the present one.”

According to an estimate, the British, who ruled India between 1757 and 1947, took away Rs.1 lakh crore from the country. But, after independence, “our own men have stashed away about Rs.25 lakh crore in foreign banks.”

Until recently, these banks refused to divulge the details of the account holders. But the situation has changed in the last three to four years, he said. “When Americans, Germans and others felt the consequence of this ‘black money or dirty money,' they put pressure on the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution against dirty money. As a result of global pressure, the Parliament of Switzerland has passed the Restitution of Illicit Assets Act, 2011 through which it has been promised to give the money back to the countries to which it belongs.

“If this money is brought back, I would insist upon the government to invest it not in cities but in the 6 lakh villages of India. It will ensure that the villages will not suffer without drinking water, good schools, ‘pucca' roads and water for fields. It would be real prosperity for the whole country,” he added.

Later, he joined party leaders including Ravi Shankar Prasad, Muralidhar Rao, Pon. Radhakrishnan, L. Ganesan and H. Raja in cheering up the crowd to a pop song specially composed for the yatra. He also prayed at a local Ganesha temple situated next to the dais.

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