Kudankulam Radiation Leak Rumours Trigger Scare in Coastal Villages in South India


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Kudankulam Nuclear Plant
Kudankulam Nuclear Plant

Since midnight on Saturday, February 16th, panic gripped the people residing in many coastal villages of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, and Kanyakumari districts when rumors purporting to radiation leak in Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) spread like wildfire. People in the neighboring villages of Kudankulam claimed that an explosion occurred in the nuclear plant when the scientists attempted to make it critical.

Church bells tolled. Half-awake villagers, mostly fishermen scurried for safety with their families. Public address systems blared requesting people to assemble at open spaces. The terrified folks of Idinthakarai assembled at their most common fast site.

Terrified people using their mobiles made frantic calls to their relatives and friends living elsewhere to help them evacuate their villages. Many residents of Kovalam, Chinna Muttam, Pallam villages in Kanyakumari district, Vijayapathi, Avudayalpuram and several coastal hamlets in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts left their villages. They traveled in available trucks and other vehicles to nearby Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Kanyakumari, Nagercoil in Tamilnadu, and to distant towns such as Kollam, and Tiruvananthapuram in Kerala.

The police said rumor sparked by unidentified mischief mongers triggered the midnight panic.

Deccan Chronicle quotes KKNPP site director R.S. Sundar: “There is no radiation leak whatsoever. Around 4000 people were in the plant today. It is unfortunate that such rumors are being floated, and people believe them.”

While the authorities point their fingers at the anti-nuke activists for the rumors, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy said conflicting statements from central ministers, and plant officials had triggered the alarm among the fishermen.

Mr. Sundar, reacting to the charges of technical faults in the plant, said, “We cannot say technically everything is alright. Integrated checks on several components of the plant are being conducted, and we are fine-tuning the testing process. It will take some more days for the tests to be completed after which the work would be audited by regulators.”

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Missing Children Bureau Is Missing


 

Pramila Krishnan By Pramila Krishnan

 Published on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 in Deccan Chronicle

Chennai: The missing children bureau, started in Tamil Nadu in 2001 under the Tamil Nadu social defence department to trace children, is missing for the last four years. The bureau’s web portal has not been updated since 2007 and there was no information about whether the 200-odd children registered on the site as missing were restored to the families or not.

Take this case: M. Kart­h­ik Kannan, age 11, height 3.5 metres; missing date: 28/12/2002. Place: Coimba­tore. Identification marks: Fair looking boy, a scar on the right elbow and protruding teeth. His photo and details were registered on the website but the site has no details about whether he was traced or not. Like him, over 10,500 children went missing in Tamil Nadu in the last five years, according to the national crime records bureau. Child rights acti­vists question the absence of the bureau.

Jebaraj of NGO JustTr­ust, which works against child trafficking, said, “Several missing children are trafficked and forced into bonded labour, sexual exploitation and begging. When the MCB itself is missing, it shows the lack of love and commitment to work for the rights of children in our state.”

Requesting anonymity, a senior officer who worked in the department said, “The bureau stopped functioning long ago. The photos of children reported by the parents with the police as missing were uploaded on the website. But no big measure was taken to reunite the children with their families.”

The officer said now the department is considering to post a nodal officer to regulate the bureau. Social defence department director N. Mathivanan told DC that the bureau was closed and a new project, ‘Track the child’, would soon be implemented.

Re-posted from Deccan Chronicle