20 Sep 2011
Pledging her support to the ongoing agitation against the Koodankulam nuclear project, social activist Medha Patkar today said the protesting villagers have decided to continue their 10-day old fast till the state cabinet passed a resolution for stopping work on the project.
“The villagers (living in and around the project site) demand that the state cabinet pass a resolution for stopping the ongoing work and ensure the safety of the people and the natural resources. We completely support them,” she told a press conference Chennai.
Patkar, speaking on her return from a visit to the protest venue near Koodankulam in Tirunelveli District, said the central government should show the same urgency on the Koodankulam issue as it attached to the Jan Lokpal Bill.
“When West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee could stop Haripur nuclear power plant, why not the Koodankulam plant (be halted)? Tamil Nadu government should also follow a similar approach”, she said.
Hitting out at Jayalalithaa for sending two AIADMK leaders to express solidarity with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi during his three-day fast, Patkar said she had not bothered to depute even a single emissary to talk to the protesters.
While the villagers thanked Jayalalithaa for her steps, including writing a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said they had decided to continue the fast until a resolution was passed by the cabinet.
“It is not a battle between Jayalalithaa and (Union Minister) Jayanti Natarajan but a battle between the people and the state”, she said referring to the Chief Minister’s charge that Natarajan had washed off her hands over the impasse.
Patkar, who is also the Convenor of National Alliance of People’s Movement, said an Inquiry Commission would be formed with eminent scientists to go into the impact of nuclear policy and power plants vis-a-vis the rights of people to know about the safety of such projects.