Thursday, June 09, 2011

The March from Tarapur to Jaitapur

One thing is clear – anti-nuclear struggles are at present on the rise. On 26 March 2011, a silent demonstration of about 700 activists took place in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. The first two 1,000 MW reactors of this plant with Russian VVER-1000 technology are supposed to go critical in June. This is likely to be delayed, as the Coastal Regulation Zone clearance has not been obtained. The contract for this plant goes back to the 1980s and the process was held up due to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Around two years ago, the prime minister announced proudly the acquisition of Russian submarines, which could keep safe our nuclear war heads. These submarines were indeed the reason why we bargained for a technology which was thought to be less safe than the Chernobyl type reactor before Chernobyl happened.

In the mean time, the people of Kudankulam can look forward to six such reactors. The fishing community has consistently protested and the final leg of the Coastal March of the NFF “Protect Waters Protect Life” ended in a shoot-out by the police, in which six fishermen were gravely injured on 1 May 1989 in Kanyakumari (Dietrich 1989). Today, fishermen’s organisations in Kerala are expressing their resistance against the Kudankulam project as well. The protest by the inland population has risen on and off, but has remained rather subdued.

In West Bengal, the struggle against the Haripur nuclear plant has a long-standing history and since recently, even Prakash Karat of the CPI-M has ventilated doubts whether this is the right place for such a project. The proposed Gorakhpur nuclear power plant at Fatehabad district in Haryana has been described as “Nuclear Madness at Delhi’s Doorsteps” by Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha and Delhi Platform. Representatives of all these struggles were present in the march from Tarapur to Jaitapur.
To sell nuclear options as a solution to global warming and an anti-dote to peak oil is a blatant absurdity. However, the neo-liberal ruling classes are doing just that. The Germans, living on after two world wars, feel a greater sense of urgency to review their options and a southern state Baden-Württemberg, has just elected the Greens to power, after having been run by the Christian Democrats for 58 years. Yet, the fact that Japan is now queuing up to sell its nuclear technology abroad, shows how very difficult it is to get rid of the spectre of devastation. In order to break out of the vicious circle of denial, we need a much deeper analysis of the neo­colonial process of globalisation. The connection between energy options and warfare has to be recognised. The present approach towards growth, extraction and devastation of nature and human communities needs a drastic change. For this, the unorganised workers, peasants, subsistence producers, forest dwellers, dalits, adivasis, women, and indigenous people in the north-east need to build alliances. The ongoing warfare against the internal colonies has to be seen eye to eye. The marchers got a mild taste of this internal warfare. The anti-nuclear struggle is the tip of an iceberg, and we need less wasteful, less destructive and decentralised energy options. It is difficult to think these options today, but how many Fukushimas do we need to rekindle our imagination?
Gabriele Dietrich in Economic and Political Weekly. Here

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...