Tuticorin Bishop clarifies stand on Kudankulam nuclear plant row

Published 10 November 2011  |  
Rumours that the Church had distanced itself from the people's movement against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu are just imaginary. The Bishop of the Tuticorin Diocese has affirmed that the Church backed the locals in the struggle.

Earlier this week there were reports that the Tuticorin Bishop Yvon Ambrose withdrew from the state committee that was constituted to break the deadlock over the nuclear power plant.

The Bishop, however, clarified to media that the Church was in solidarity and is continuing to create awareness to warn the people about the environmental and health effects of nuclear energy.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Bishop said he was with the people "morally and spiritually".

"As per the Catholic Church's teachings and the Tamil Nadu Bishop Council's resolution, I continue to show my solidarity with my people who are under great fear and anxiety concerning the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant," he said.

Bishop Ambrosia was nominated as a member of the state-level panel to interact with the 15-member Central group of experts constituted by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). However, the Bishop did not attend first meeting at Tirunelvi, saying he was "not a nuclear expert" and that he had not been consulted earlier.

"I had clearly written to the District Collector that since I am neither a scientist nor a member of the Struggle Committee (SC) against KNPP, someone else may be co-opted in my place," Fr Ambrosia said.

India's nuclear power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam.

The project is estimated to cost around Rs 13,160 crore. Protests over safety concerns have stalled work on the project for over a month now.

Former president APJ Abdul Kalam visited the area on Monday and suggested an action plan to defuse tension in the region through development measures.

The Rs. 200-crore plan suggested by Kalam envisages building four-lane highways, a mega desalination plant and construction of houses, schools and hospitals in the area to benefit Kudankulam

Meanwhile, to create awareness about the nuclear power project, more than 100 anti-nuclear energy activists reportedly will go on a yatra from Madurai to Kudankulam in Tirunelveli on Thursday.

The yatra will culminate in Chennai on Sunday.

On September 22, the Tamil Nadu government passed a resolution urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Central government to halt work at Kudankulam till the fear of the people were allayed.

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