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Friday, 28 October 2011

Kudankulam, India and the Nuclear Power Stalemate

Would a government build infrastructure like an 8-lane express highway and then refuse to use it because there might be accidents on the highway in the future? I haven't heard this happen ever. Politics, it seems, leaves no such event untouched - and has demonstrated it through the effective self-sabotage of the operation of new Public Projects including Electrical Power Plants.

In the state of Tamil Nadu (TN), India, Kudankulam is a new Nuclear power plant with a capacity of 990MW. However the local populace have decided to conduct stirs, agitations and paralyze all efforts to render the plant operational. The Prime Minister of India has allegedly sent at least two letters to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to ensure that this plant is operational. However, nothing to this effect has been done.

The residents of this area  have expressed fear over a Nuclear accident of the scale of 'Chernobyl', and after new sensationalism after the Japanese disaster - they quote 'Fukushima' as an example. Whenever these protests are given coverage by the media, a huge number of Catholic priests from that region are seen participating and organizing the event. Tamil Nadu already enjoys power from one Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam in Chennai. Increasing Power Infrastructure which does not depend on fossil fuels is a top priority considering the population and growth of the Country. Further, the Government has yet to table a bill on the privatization of Electrical Power Generation plants which might hedge the financial risk of power production and distribution. This too has been on the back-burner for too long.

Due to the recent low pressure region in the Bay of Bengal, the Eastern coast of the peninsula including most areas in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have been receiving almost incessant rainfall. To add to this, agitations demanding separate state for Telengana (now a part of the state of Andhra Pradesh) have halted Coal productions from that region. With most power plants in Tamil Nadu having a cache of less than 4 days of Coal (against the mandatory 30 day supply required,) a serious power crisis looms, which if it happens, will undoubtedly affect industry and citizens alike in the immediate.

The people who are protesting and fasting against the operation of the Nuclear power plant including their press and publicity teams seem blissfully unaware of Nuclear Power Technology. Should a few people be allowed to hold an entire Country to ransom, when Electrical Power Generation here and more plants could ensure self sufficient power production in India if done at a quick pace.

Both the State Government (Tamil Nadu) and the Central Government have failed to act in the interests of all the people to get this plant operational. It is a bigger shame that the State Government of Tamil Nadu has personally requested the Central Government to halt all work at the Nuclear Reactor until the local populace's fear is allayed.

India has been suffering under Politicians (not Administrators - who are schooled by the Indian Administrative/Civil Services.) This negative influence has been persisting too long in delaying and sabotaging constructive efforts of the people. If we don't get enough electrical power, we will plunge into darkness and that would fuel poverty and confusion. All these governments are trying the patience of the people for a revolt without attempting to work with the people. India is undoubtedly the most populated democracy in the world and needs to be so. Everyone's opinion needs to be heard, but the needs of the majority are always ahead of the needs of a minority - be they elite, regional or communal groups.

It is sad that we watch the destruction of our own country by the inaction of the so-called representatives who administer the state. All the skullduggery at work at Kudankulam will only take India back to the dark ages, starting with the very state it has been constructed in to meet power shortage problems.