Copies of Kudankulam bilateral treaties India had signed with the erstwhile USSR and Russia in 1988 and 1988, respectively, for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant were furnished to the Madras high court by the Centre in a sealed cover on Thursday.
A division bench comprising Justice P Jyothimani and Justice M Duraiswamy perused the documents and returned them to additional solicitor-general of south India, M Ravindran. The documents were submitted following an earlier direction from the bench while hearing a batch of more than a dozen public interest petitions concerning the nuclear plant.
On Thursday, Ravindran submitted that clearances had already been obtained for the project from the competent authorities such as the Union ministry of environment and forests and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB). He said all the short-term requirements had been complied with by the Centre. According to Ravindran, the supplemental agreement signed with Russia in 1998 related to certain variations in financial terms. Emergency plan and drill manual were meant for officers at the plant, details of which could not be divulged in a public forum, he said.
Earlier, counter-affidavits were filed on behalf of the TNPCB as well as the district police. In his counter, the Tirunelveli superintendent of police Vijayendra S Bidari confirmed that some criminal cases were registered with regard to the ongoing agitation against the project. Once the investigation is over, suitable legal action would be taken, he said.
Noting that the protests had drawn a large number of participants, including women and children, the SP said, “If it is not handled properly, with due diligence and care, there may be large-scale law and order disturbances in the area, and possibility of violent outbreaks cannot be ruled out.”
The counter also contended that all efforts were being made to allay the fears of the people with regard to the nuclear plant. “It will require time and sustained efforts,” it said, adding: “It is in the long-term interest of the nuclear plant that the fears in the minds of people residing in its surroundings are fully allayed and they have full confidence in the functioning and safety of this nuclear facility.”
The judges adjourned the matter to June 26 for reply arguments by additional solicitor-general Ravindran.