Indian MPs’ observation tourApril 15, 2012, 5:43 pm
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has drawn heavy flak for her decision to pull out her representative from the joint Indian parliamentary delegation scheduled to visit Sri Lanka on a fact finding mission. She has cynically dismissed their tour as a mere junket. Her reaction has come as no surprise, given the situation she finds herself in. Being party to the delegation is a difficult proposition for her as she seems to fear that some of its observations are likely to run counter to her unsubstantiated allegations against this country. Nothing worries a politician who seeks political mileage by disseminating half-truths, mistruths and diabolical lies to whip up animosity and prejudice against a purported enemy than the fear of being found out. DMKleader M.Karunanidhi is reported to have followed Jayalalithaa’s example by pulling out his party’s delegate from the team touring Sri Lanka.
Now that Sri Lanka has decided to address India’s concerns by receiving a parliamentary delegation, the Manmohan Singh government should reciprocate. It has been established that a cluster of nuclear power plants India is constructing at Kudankulam poses a serious threat to Sri Lanka. It is only 240 km from Sri Lanka’s west coast in line with Puttalam and if any of its power plants, being constructed or planned there, develops a radiation leak due to some unforeseen reason, its impact would be felt directly by Sri Lanka, according to Sri Lankan scientists. "This is particularly so during the South West monsoon months when the wind blows from the southern tip of India towards the North Central Province for several months," says Sri Lankan expert, Dr. Janaka Ratnasiri. In such an eventuality, it is feared, radiation will leave hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Sri Lankans dead in a matter of hours—absit omen!
Dr. Ratnasiri has pointed out in an article, ‘India’s nuclear power programme and its threat to Sri Lanka’, (The Island of March 15, 2011) that before Fukushima disaster in Japan, the 500 MW nuclear power plant near the sea at Kalpakkam was affected by the 2004 tsunami. Although it withstood the giant waves, which engulfed the surrounding area, it got shut down automatically when the waves damaged the cooling water intake facility. Luckily, the plant got automatically shut down.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa used to be a vociferous critic of the Kudanlulam nuclear power project, but she chose to back it in return for, inter alia, the Central government’s support for the US-led resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. No sooner had PM Singh announced in Parliament that his government was inclined to vote for that resolution than she gave the go-ahead for the controversial project. She has, in so doing, irked even the LTTE activists overseas who are showering praise on India for its Geneva vote as they are really alive to the dangers of the project which might one day become India’s Chernobyl.
So, India should allow Sri Lankan parliamentarians and scientists to visit the Kudankulam nuclear plant and take up the issue with the Central Government as that is a matter of grave concern to Sri Lanka. It is hoped that the environmental groups, both here and abroad, will realise the danger of the nuclear project and accordingly.
Meanwhile, let the visiting Indian delegation be informed of the lapses on the part of the government of India as regards the rebuilding and rehabilitation programmes in Sri Lanka’s former war zone. Of the 50,000 houses it promised, it has so far completed only 670. They must also be requested to report to their government that the northern fishermen of Sri Lanka struggling to rebuild their lives are being robbed of their fish by the Indian poachers ably assisted in the plunder by none other than Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who is weeping buckets for Sri Lankan Tamils.