The National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) has reiterated its demand to keep the country’s coastline free of any nuclear and atomic installations particularly in view of the disaster that struck Japan following the tsunami.
The forum has also demanded a white paper from the Ministry of Environment and Forest on all nuclear installations in the country particularly in the wake of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that the stability and security of all nuclear installations should be reviewed very seriously.
“The very fact that the Prime Minister has asked for review of these installations creates a doubt that they are not very stable,” said NFF Chairperson Matanhy Saldanha.
The natural disaster revealed the fact that even advanced nations like Japan and Russia with all its technological expertise could not protect the nuclear installations from nature’s wrath and accidents. The world is a witness to the thick smoke hovering over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that brings back grim memories of the Chernobyl disaster barely some years ago.
The disaster in Japan has brought home the grim reality that the coastline is highly volatile with man having no control whatsoever over nature and hence the coastline should not be tampered with.
In India, the coastline is thickly populated and despite over riding the protests from the locals, the government is building nuclear plants in these areas which are highly vulnerable and identified seismic zones.
The National Fishworkers’ Forum has consistently objected to setting up nuclear and even thermal plants along the coastline. However, the Ministry of Environment and Forests led by its Minister Jairam Ramesh rejected NFF’s stand while notifying the Coastal Regulation Zone 2011.
“The Minister has bowed to the pressures of vested interest to compromise the life and security of the coastal inhabitants by permitting nuclear installations in the coastal belt,” said Mr. Saldanha adding that even the Prime Minister has permitted this policy probably to get into good books with the suppliers of nuke power technology from countries like France.
While appreciating the fact that the Prime Minister has asked for a review of the stability of all nuclear installations, NFF demanded an immediate moratorium on permitting any fresh nuclear installations along the coastline of the country, a review of those permitted and immediate stoppage of work on such facilities wherever it is underway.
At the same time the NFF strongly objected to building of expressways on stilts. The tsunami in Japan has already shown that such highways on stilts cannot withstand the force of nature and hence once again we call upon the learned Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of Environment and Forest to immediately amend the CRZ Notification 2011, and prohibit road on stilts and nuclear plants in coastal areas.
The NFF has called upon the people of the Konkan region to oppose the nuclear plant proposed at Jaitapur in Maharashtra for Kaiga nuclear plant is in close proximity and if any disaster strikes in these plants then the entire stretch of Konkan including Goa will be exterminated.
The NFF has extended all support to the ongoing struggle of the people opposing nuclear installations wherever they are going on and demanded that the authorities prove their claim that the Koodankulam reactor has been designed to withstand tsunami effect.
“The NFF shall continue to fight tooth and nail any nuclear installation along the coastline”, said Matanhy.