The Weekend Leader - Sponsored struggle

‘Fishermen contribute 10 percent of their income to the anti-nuclear plant struggle’



Vol 3 | Issue 9

The People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which is spearheading the agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear project, has released a statement of accounts to prove that the struggle is powered with small donations of local villagers.

"PMANE has a 30-member finance committee to manage the funds. Starting from Aug 14, 2011, till Feb 26, the total funds raised by PMANE are Rs.2,517,991 and the total expenses during that period is Rs.1,764,233," G. Stanly, a member of PMANE's finance committee, said over phone from Idinthakarai.

Fishermen donate 10 percent of their income to the anti-nuclear plant protest in Kudankulam, according to activists (Photo: Kebiston Fernando)

"We have issued receipts to all the donors. For those donors who want to be anonymous too we have issued receipts accordingly," he said.

According to him, the struggle committee first collected around Rs.200 from each house in Idinthakarai.

"When it was clear that the agitation is going to be a long drawn affair, it was decided that the fishermen should contribute ten percent of their catch value once a week towards the struggle fund. There are beedi workers, farmers and others who also contribute to the fund," Stanly remarked.

He said the cash outgo out of the struggle fund is towards hiring transport, diesel genset, marquees, and supply of water to the people who congregate at the protest fast venue.

"PMANE members spend their own money for their food and other items when they travel," Stanly said.

The main purpose of releasing the accounts is to silence the critics of the movement that they get foreign funds, he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in an interview to the American `Science' magazine had said that the anti-KNPP movement is funded by non-governmental organisations (NGO) based in the US and Scandinavian countries.

Taking exception to this statement, S.P.Udayakumar, coordinator of PMANE, has sent him a legal notice saying that the comments are defamatory.

India's nuclear power plant operator NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors with Russian collaboration at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli, around 650 km from Chennai.

Villagers in Kudankulam, Idinthakarai and nearby areas fear for their lives and safety in case of a nuclear accident.

Their agitation, led by PMANE, has put a stop to the project work, delaying the commissioning of the first unit, which was originally slated for last December.

Meanwhile, as the people's struggle entered its 200th day Friday, villagers raised Rs.100,000 for the chief minister's relief fund for the victims of Cyclone Thane that struck Dec 30 last year, an activist said.

"Today (Friday) is the 200th day of our struggle. The fast by people from nearby villagers is going on. We have raised Rs.100,000 from villagers as their contribution towards the Thane cyclone relief fund. The demand draft will be handed over to the district collector Saturday," said M. Pushparayan, convenor of the Coastal People's Federation and a PMANE leader.

The people's agitation against the atomic power plant is in its third phase as there were two breaks in the relay fast - the first between Sep 21-Oct 9 last year and the second on Oct 17, 2011, for the local governing body elections. - IANS

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