Tamil Nadu government bans registration of land within 5km radius of Madras Atomic Power Station at Kalpakkam

Published : March 03, 2021 16:55 IST

A view of the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) at Sathurangapattinam near Kalpakkam in Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Tamil Nadu State government has issued an order banning the registration of land in villages that fall “within 5.00 km radius from Reactor Points” of the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS), located in Kalpakkam village of Thirukazhukundram Block in Chengleput district. The order says that in the case of an emergency in the power plant, the authorities would find it difficult to evacuate people from their places.

This move has been initiated in pursuance of the latest safety codes issued by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which is going to establish a green corridor, a natural growth zone. A few parcels of land and properties with specific survey numbers in and around 14 villages and habitations in a few town panchayats in Chengleput and Kancheepuram districts in Tamil Nadu fall under the zone where land registration cannot be done.

The Block Development Officer (BDO) of Thirukazhukundram Panchayat Union, Department of Rural Development and Local Administration, Tamil Nadu government, in response to a series of orders from the State and Central governments, sent a letter dated February 19 to the Registrar (Registration), Chengleput district, asking him not to register any documents relating to the survey numbers mentioned in the order.

Accordingly, the Registrar, in a letter dated February 25, instructed the Joint and Sub-Registrar offices in and around Thirukazhukundram, to refrain from registering any property with the specific survey numbers mentioned in the gazette notification. All registration must be henceforth stopped, he further urged. A copy of the BDO’s letter was sent to the Chairman, General Service Organisation, Department of Atomic Energy, Kalpakkam.

The Kancheepuram District Collector also issued a gazette notification under Section 125 [2] of the Tamil Nadu Panchayat Act, 1984, excluding the registration of land with the specific survey numbers that fall within five km radius of the atomic power plant. These pieces of identified land were located in the villages of Kokilamedu, Meyyur, Edaiyur, Kalpakkam, Manamai, Kunnathur, Sathurangapattinam, Neikuppai, Kadambadi, Mamallapuram, Pudupattinam, Nallur and Vitlapuram, all near the Kalpakkam plant.

Talking to Frontline, M.H. Jawaharullah of the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) said the news was shocking for the people living in the vicinity of the Kalpakkam plant and that it had created panic among them. He said: “There was no proper instruction given. The move to ban the registration of land and immovable properties such as houses and huts had robbed their livelihood options, causing fear. The order will make the people refugees in their own land. The government must bring out a white paper on the safety aspects of the Kalpakkam plant and lift the ban on registration immediately.”

MAPS is engaged in producing nuclear power and reprocessing spent fuel. It has a waste immobilisation facility, which includes plutonium fuel fabrication for fast breeder reactors (FBRs). It is India’s first fully indigenously constructed nuclear power station, with two units each generating 220 MW of electricity. The two units went critical in 1983 and 1985 respectively.