M. Pushparayan is a leading activist of the Koodankulam anti-nuclear movement. Along with Mr. Jesuraj, he is one of the two key representatives of the movement who are engaged in an official dialogue with the government.  Amid fears of repression after the Prime Minister’s assurance to his Russian hosts in December to commission Koodankulam-1 reactor, the people in Koodankulam are intensifying their struggle. Speaking to DiaNuke.org, Mr. Pushparayan explained the emerging issues, forthcoming events and challenges before the movement.

Pushparayan has been engaged in movements for sustainability, equity, justice and peace in the region for more than two decades. He has evolved through his experiences of fighting corporates, governments and the mainstream ideas of progress and development that actually mean impoversihment, marginalisation and violence for the local communities. Here is Mr. Pushparayan’s interview for the readers of DiaNuke.org:

 

DiaNuke: Hi! First of all, we wish you a successful year ahead !

Pushparayan: Thanks. For people of Koodankulam, the movement has become a fight to save their lives and livelihoods. It has become a part of their daily life. So, even in the New Year, people celebrated by gathering in large numbers and vowing to save their environment, community life and livelihoods. (See pictures here.)

 DiaNuke: What are the latest developments in Koodankulam?

Pushparayan: The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) organized a big protest meeting in Kanyakumari on 29th December where around 20,000 people participated. On 30th, the people’s expert panel constituted by the PMANE came out with its report which was submitted to the state’s Chief Minister.  At this point we are raising three key demands:

  1. Scrap the Koodankulam nuclear power project
  2. Provide 10 thousand megawatts of electricity from the central grid
  3. Increase and allocate the fund for renewable energy for Tamil Nadu as requested by TN CM
  4. To seek an appointment with TN CM asking and justifying our demand that PMANE Expert Team to Central Expert Panel.
  5. To demand the TN CM to ask the Centre to remove the uranium Fuel rods from KKNPP Premises.

DiaNuke: What is the status of dialogue with the central government?

Pushparayan:  The dialogue with the central government remained inconclusive. We demanded some important document, information and white papers from the govt that would enable us for an informed and open engagement. But the government refused to provide us these documents, which do not really contain any sensitive data or information. Secondly, we raised several questions to which the Central Government’s expert panel has evaded any substantive answers, on flimsy grounds.  Thirdly, even when the dialogue was on, the government kept putting newer charges on non-violent protesters and activists. This is no way to engage people in a dialogue. And after all this, our PM said during his Russia trip that the government has gone ‘out of its way’ in the dialogue and the protests are ‘overdone’ !

Now that even the mischievous attempts to malign the movement for being ‘foreign-funded’ and church-dominated have fallen flat due to sustained struggle of people in large numbers, people have apprehensions that the government might resort to naked violence and state-repression.

DiaNuke: So, what is your next plan of action?

Pushparayan: The Koodankulam movement is a spontaneous people’s movements and large participation from all sections of society is our only strength. The movement has been thoroughly non-violent and has seen women of the area coming out in huge numbers. We have also got good support from the civil society organisations and concerned people from across the country. We are going to intensify the movement further. There are several events that we are planning in January in collaboration with other organisations. Some of these are independently organised by groups that support us.

Here is a list of the events that we have planned for January:

 

S.NO

DATE

PROGRAM

VENUE OF THE PROGRAM

01.

03.01.2012

Meeting nellai collector

Tirunelveli colletorate

seeking appointment with TN CM for pmane expert team

02.

06.01.2012

rally & public meeting

Rajapaalayam

03.

07.01.2012

CPI ML van campaign

&

train campaign

Tirunelveli

to

 Idinthakarai

Coimbatore

to

Tirunelveli

04.

08.01.2012

Pondicherry

Hunger Fast

05.

12.01.2012

150th day of KKNPP protest

rally & agitation

Parameswarem  to

Radhapuram

BSNL office

06.

14.01.2012

bogi festival

switching over to CFL bulbs.

KKNPP Protest people area

07.

22.01.2012

agitation

Tiruchendur seeking centre to fulfil tn cm request for state’s enenrgy  proposals

08.

25.01.2012

100th day of relay fast

Pmk Founder Dr.Ramadoss participates

Idinthakarai

09.

26.01.2012

Republic Day

rally & agitation

Perumanal to Chettikualm

10.

30.01.2012

Gandhi Death anniversary

KKNPP sample burning & mourning  protest

Idinthakarai Koodankualm