Ramesh Sundara Rajan – I have been born in Kuthenkuly, which is my mother’s native place. Idinthakarai is my father’s native. I have lived there for more than 15 years before re locating to Bangalore. I have worked for various national and multinational companies in the field of IT hardware as sales professional. I have a professional experience of over 15 years. I have travelled widely to seek opportunities. I am currently into Eco Friendly products. I manufacture and sell them to Indian and International clients.

I can be contacted on my facebook.

I am not the first and I am sure I may not be the last one to write on the happenings around the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP). Koodankulam and Idinthakarai are now visible to most of the people in India and the world for obvious reasons. I have my roots in Idinthakarai, it is my native place. I may not be equipped with multiple doctorate degrees as the others debating this issue over the media; all I want to express here is my concern for my people.

For all these years the nation of India did not know there existed these tiny fishing villages, namely Kootapuli, Perumanal, Idinthakarai, and Kuthenkuly. Kootapuli and Perumanal were lucky in one way because they were atleast connected with the east coast road that connected the port city of Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) and the southern tip of India, Kanyakumari. The other two villages, Idinthakarai and Kuthenkuly were not even on the road map. I have seen how these places have evolved from the days of my birth. Sorry, they have actually not evolved; they have been only galvanized from time to time. These places have no government schools or hospitals, and buses come as guests. The occupation of these people is fishing in the Bay of Bengal and some are farmers. The only other profession these people knew was to become a school teacher. They absolutely did not know what the outside world had to offer. Alienation was their surname. No government agency even cared to look at the plight of these people. They were only needed during elections as typical vote banks. They have been denied every basic need for ages. Poor guys they don’t even know to complain. They have tamed the sea for a living, probably that is the reason no one went near them for the fear of being tamed. Yes, they are rough. That is the way of their life, they do not sit in air-conditioned cabins and draw five figure salary. Every day they venture into the sea, not even knowing if they will return alive leave alone returning with a decent catch. Now a days they have to face the wrath of the Srilankan army too. How do you expect these guys to be smooth as silk in their behaviour? I have not seen anybody who can shower love to a stranger as they can do. It does not sink easily if you imagine the same people to go on an indefinite hunger strike for cause. What has caused this “Bodhi”moment in them. I have known these people to draw a dagger at the enemy for no reason, what has made them to change?

I did not have to search more for an answer; they have now realized that their very survival is at stake. The feel that in no time they will be driven out of their land either directly or in directly. Directly because their houses being located so close to the reactors, they will be seen as potential security threats and “re located’, or as time goes by, fishing activity will slowly die and they will be driven out of their place to look for a living somewhere else. These people have not asked for bungalows on Akbar Road or Janpath or million dollar compensation or free meals. They are just asking to be left alone to fend for themselves, but in their own place. Is this a crime in this country? In a country that is run by lobbyists for billionaires and pseudo development messiahs this must be a grave crime. This movement of the little known people will definitely grow to epic proportions and become too hot to handle for the Government. Better sense has to prevail; the people have to be won over. If the scientists feel that the general public does not understand technicalities, then who can allay their fears. The reason is simple. Whenever any group agitates the government immediately evokes all types draconian laws or threatens them with dire consequences. What can they threaten this people with? Nothing, absolutely nothing. They have been given nothing which can be withdrawn, they can’t be promised anything because they have not received anything earlier. They are not people who have lived in luxury, who will worry if they are withdrawn. When their existence is at stake they will fight till the finish. This time they are determined and demand an answer from the Government. In a democracy the Government owes an answer.

College students stage a protest in Tuticorin against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant . Photo Courtesy: The Hindu

It is disheartening to read that the Prime Minister of this country is least bothered about the citizens he rules. He may have his facts; it is he who has to ensure that his people who are at the other end of the road have to be won over. A typical case of the fiddling Nero when Rome was burning, but historians say Nero was not such a bad fellow after all. They say he was very good in his early days of rule at least. Whereas our PM has written to the Chief Minister to facilitate a smooth functioning of the Power Plant and also has said that Tamilnadu will not get developmental projects if the power plant were to be stalled. Does he mean to say that countries without Nuclear power have not progressed? He has to be better tutored to understand that West Bengalhas Installed Mamata even after she Stalled the Nano. Such is the power of the people. This is not a time for one upmanship. No development is bigger than the interest of the people. When the whole world is either shutting down or planning to shut down their Nuclear Reactors India is welcoming them with the Red carpet. Reports say America has not planned any in the future, Russia has not had any new after Chernobyl, and now Japan is burning for the second time, why on earth now in India. Do the same people who have voted his government to power don’t deserve an answer.

I am sure the scientific community wants to adorn itself with medals by just saying all is well, they will decorate themselves with laurels only if they win over the people and ensure the safety of the lives of people. If they feel that the people can’t be convinced or need not be convinced then they have no right to set shop there.The people of the region have not been part of the so called ‘India Shining’ or ‘Incredible India’. For them life has been a daily struggle and will remain like that with or without the KNPP.

The people have woken up and cannot be bought over by the intelligence agencies or the cunning politicos this time. Pure and sincere efforts only can win them.

People power will win @ KNPP.