National Alliance of People's Movements
Press Release

Date: 30 January 2003
C/o. Chemical Mazdoor Sabha,
Haji Habib Bldg, 1st Floor,
Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (East), Mumbai 400014
Tel: (022)24150529/25369724

Thousands Demand to Stop Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project, Prawn Farming : Implement Coastal Regulation to Save Environment, People

Thousands of people belonging to various organizations in Kanya Kumari district in Tamil Nadu demanded that to the Koodankulam Nuclear power project be stopped forthwith and prawn farms on the sea-coast be closed as per the Supreme Court orders. A mammoth meeting was held at Nagercoil in South Tamil Nadu on Thursday (January 30), as the Desh Bachao-Desh Banao campaign by the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) started its mass contact in Tamil Nadu. The people demanded that factories and tourist resorts be banned from coastal areas as per the Coastal Regulation Act. This meeting of workers, fisherpeople and peasants and the villagers in general at also demanded that the sterlite plant in Thoothukudi that harms the local environment and kills the local people be shut down immediately and that the Sun Paper Mill and the Dharani Sugar factory be prevented from dumping their waste in the Thamirabharani River. The dry land that have been slated to be given away to private developers be handed over to the respective Panchayat and sufficient funds be provided be provide to those Panchayat for the development of the same.

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has launched a nationwide campaign against Globalization and communalism, to evolve a nationwide programme with the consultation and participation with all progressive organizations. The campaign, launched from Palakkad district in Kerala, will traverse 17 states and reach Ayodhya on March 30. Hundreds of organizations and prominent persons from all walks of life throughout the country are participating in this campaign.

Number of organizations from the Kanyakumari district and adjacent area participated in the campaign and meetings on Thursday. Prominent among them were Pennurimai Iyakkam, Kattida Tozhilalar Panchayat Sangham, Workers and Peasants alliance from Madurai (17 unions from unorganised sector are part of this), the Environment Protection Movement, the Manual Workers union and the Coordination committee of the workers in the unorganised sector, Womens’ collective, Navajyoti, National Fish Workers’ Forum, Beedi womens association. The representatives from Plachimada Coca- Cola virudha Samara Samiti, Karimugal Carbon Virudha Samara Samiti from Kerala decided to participate in the entire campaign till Ayodhya.

The meeting also demanded that the Colachel Fishing Harbour project that has been a long-standing demand of the fisher people of Kanya Kumari District be immediately implemented. It also called for immediate establishment of Thengapattanam Landing Jetty and the “Thoodil Valaivu” in coastal villages and the privileges that have been accorded to the coastal fisher people be provided for the inland fisher people also.

Among other important demands were : all the laws and amendments that have been introduced to curtail the rights of the working people be rescinded immediately. The 1993 Supreme Court order and the June 25, 2002 wage agreement of the Tamilnadu government be implemented for the Beedi workers. The organised laborers be given job guarantees and the welfare schemes meant for them be regulated through a specific board. The subsidies and incentives given to the service sector be continued instead of handing over those sectors to private parties. The import of food materials be stopped and we have enough food stock in our ware houses. The Tamilnadu farmers be saved from the free-meal and other degrading schemes and that they be given job guarantee and right to life. Organic farming be promoted in India along with Job Guarantees instead of bring in foreign agricultural methods and machines. The public sector units that have been created as the public treasures of the Indian people be safeguarded from privatization and that the vacant posts in these undertakings be filled immediately. The poverty and violence that have been unleashed on women by globalization be stopped immediately.

Earlier in the day, the campaign started its Tamil Nadu programme at Gandhi Mandapam at Kanya Kumari, paying obeisance to Mahatma Gandhi on the day of his martyrdom. The Green Movement activists gathered their to salute the campaign. NAPM team held a meeting of the local organizations at Nagarcoil who briefed about the local issues. This interactive session enabled an active dialogue process towards the wider alliance the campaign is aiming at.

The Desh Bachao Desh Banao campaign after concluded its Kerala, with 12 meetings and addressing thousands of people and a large number of socio-political organizations, dealing with the issues ranging from the resistance to foreign capital, exploitation and expropriation of natural resources like water, land, forests and minerals to communal fascist dirty politics. The NAPM highlighted need for alliance of all the diverse struggle.

Gabriele D
Sanjay Mangala Gopal
Philip Mathew