Koodankulam : In My Backyard – Amirtharaj Stephen

Kudankulam is a town in the Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, India. It is 20 km northeast of Kanyakumari, 30 km from Nagercoil, 70 km from Tirunelveli and about 105 km from Thiruvananthapuram. The town is notable as the construction site of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. It is also the location of hundreds of windmills used for power generation, eight of which are on the grounds of the nuclear plant. These wind turbines have a total capacity of 2000 MW and represent one of the largest wind farms in India.

India –

‘Colorful Guizhou’, the 6th Photo China Original International Photographic Exhibition opened in the Guizhou Province of China on August 16, 2013. Manik Katyal, Editor-in-Chief of Emaho Magazine had nominated 5 photographers from South-Asia for the competition. One of the nominee, Amirtharaj Stephen won the 2nd Prize as well as the cash prize of 10000 Yuan for his series ‘Koodankulam: A Nuclear Plant in My Backyard’.

Organised by China curator Wang Xi, the recommendation panel for this exhibition was headed by Robert Pledge the CEO of Contact Press Images, USA. The other esteemed members of the panel included Pablo Bartholomew – World Press Photo winning photographer , Wang Jingchun – Director of Picture Department of Nanfang Metropolis Daily, Jia Guorong – Sr photojournalist of China News Agency, Lin Tianfu – Chairman, Chinese Photography and Art Exchange Association, Huang Wen – Director, Center of Xihua News Agency and Zhuang Wubin – Curator, Scholar.

“Koodankulam: In my Backyard“ is a set of photographs from the uprising of the local community against the Indian and Russian Government on commissioning of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). The people have been protesting over 650 days post Fukushima Nuclear Disaster in a non-violent and peaceful manner which have been repeatedly subject to violence by the government forces to clamp down on the protesters. Today, the Koodankulam protests not only create a debate on nuclear energy in India, but also questions the philosophy of “Democracy” on which the world’s biggest democracy India was built.

 

Written and Photography by Amirtharaj Stephen.

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