Faraz Ahmad, Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 24. Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy today reiterated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s charge that US-aided NGOs are re-routing the funds obtained from abroad to fuel agitation against the opening of the Kudankulam nuclear power station in Tamil Nadu. He also added Scandinavian countries to the list of sponsors of such NGOs.
The Prime Minister had yesterday in an interview with a Science journal pointedly accused US-based NGOs for the current agitation against Kudankulam power station. “What’s happening in Kudankulam…the atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because these NGOs, mostly I think based in the United States, don’t appreciate the need for our country to increase the energy supply.”
Amidst protests from some of the NGOs and unexpected support from the Opposition quarters, Narayanasamy went a step further and said today in an interview to ANI, “In fact, you know, the NGOs based in the US and also the Scandinavian countries… they have sent money close to the Kudankulam area, to Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, Thuthukudi and other places, to some of the India-based NGOs. What has been given, how it has been spent, is being investigated by the home ministry.”
The Minister of State for Personnel said the home ministry had cancelled licences of three of the 12 NGOs whose fund utilisation was under scrutiny. He hinted that Singh spoke on the basis of a Home Ministry brief on the background and funding of these NGOs.
The agitation, as the Prime Minister put it, has stalled the commissioning of two 1,000 MW reactors at this nuclear power generation plant set up with Russian collaboration.
The minister said, “The (Home) ministry is initiating action against one of the NGOs, which did not follow the guidelines.”
He also smelt a rat in “this massive mobilisation” of protesters at the site and said, “I was told that the people who are agitating were brought from various areas in trucks. They are being given good treatment by the organisers,” he said.
“The protesters sat on a hunger strike near Kudankulam project site and have not allowed the workers to get inside.
“They have incited violence and we found out how the money was coming to them, Therefore, these apprehensions and the concern raised by the Prime Minister are correct,” he added.
The BJP, which has all along been skeptical about the role of some West-funded NGOs, responded to the Prime Minister’s charge with Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley asking the government to go public saying, “It is a very important statement that the Prime Minister has made. I think the government must make facts in regard to this public so that the veracity of all this is known to the people of India who are in a position then to decide what is the correct position,” Jaitley said.
A. Raja, CPI leader, too, reacted on similar lines saying, if America-based NGOs are playing a role in Kudankulam, then they should be isolated and action should be taken against them, adding, “I don’t think the Prime Minister is targeting the American government.
“If the Prime Minister has any evidence against the NGOs, he should go and tell the people of Kudankulam instead of giving interviews to magazines.”
The NGOs took a strong exception and People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) spearheading the stir against Kudankulam rejected Singh’s remark as baseless.
“It is unfortunate that the Prime Minister has made the allegations without any documentary proof. We strongly deny his observation that the agitation is being funded by other countries,” anti nuclear activist SP Udayakumar said in Chennai today.
The PM’s Take on Agitation
What’s happening in Kudankulam…the atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because these NGOs, mostly I think based in the United States, don’t appreciate the need for our country to increase the energy supply.
The Minister of State for Personnel disclosed that the home ministry has cancelled operating licences of three of the 12 NGOs whose fund utilisation is under scrutiny.