Skip to main content

"People's charter" opposes nuclear plant for Mithi Virdi in Gujarat, says India is on "suicidal path"

By Our Representative
A people's charter on nuclear energy was adopted at a convention of prominent intellectuals and activists in Ahmedabad which voiced concern of the people of Mithi Virdi (Gujarat), along with other places where nuclear power plants are being put up -- such as Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra), Kovvada (Andhra Pradesh), Gorakhpur (Haryana), Chutka (Madhya Pradesh) and Haripur (West Bengal). It supported what it called "relentless struggles against these anti-people and unsafe nuclear power projects being promoted by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL)".
Among the participants were Gandhian Chunibhai Vaidya, well-known social scientists Ganshyam Shah, Praful Bidwai, Surendra Gadekar, Vaishali Patil, Achyut Yagnik, Neeraj Jain and Sudarshan Aiyangar, vice-chancellor, Gujarat Vidyapith.  The charter, which claims to have shared experiences, struggles and visions for a future free of nuclear energy developed by grassroots movements, says, "The Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan has led to global rethinking and a recognition that nuclear power is anachronistic (and) catastrophic".
Adopted at Gujarat Vidyapeeth, the charter says, "India is pursuing a suicidal expansion of nuclear power. The claim that nuclear energy is indispensable for the country’s energy security is deeply flawed. The main motive in going in for a large-scale nuclear programme is to deliver on the promise of paybacks made to the US for the Indo-US nuclear deal and to other countries for their support in getting an endorsement for that agreement from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group for India."
It adds, "Such expansion will strengthen the domestic and foreign industrial lobbies that see great opportunities to make money through equipment supply and other contracts. It will greatly reinforce the power and privilege of India’s highly secretive Department of Atomic Energy and further promote the highly centralised and energy-intensive path of development that is part of the neoliberal globalisation project adopted by the Indian elite and the government."
Saying that communities near the existing nuclear facilities in Tarapur, Rawatbhata, Kalpakkam, Kaiga, Kakrapar and Hyderabad have also been raising voices against radiation leaks and their harmful effects, which are often hushed up by the authorities, the charter underlines, "Workers in the nuclear industry have come out against NPCIL.We call upon the people of India to join up in stopping this nuclear insanity and to foster and campaign for an alternative future based on renewable, sustainable and equitable forms of energy generation."
The demands of the charter include:
* A moratorium should be imposed with immediate effect on all proposed nuclear reactor projects.
An open and democratic national debate on nuclear energy and its alternatives be organised in the country.
* A transparent safety review of the entire nuclear sector be carried out by independent experts.
Land acquisition for nuclear projects should immediately be put on hold till the new Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act comes into effect.
* Periodic safety reviews of existing nuclear reactors must be carried out by independent experts. The authorities should facilitate long-term and medium-term health studies by independent health experts near the reactors; their findings must be publicised by the government.
* Prior to undertaking any activity, including the preparation of a detailed project report, the government must set up a body of independent experts to carry out baseline health and environmental surveys in all areas where it is proposed to set up reactors, to start mining and otherwise establish activities and structures connected to the whole nuclear fuel cycle. The survey results must be transparently shared with the local public, which must assured full and unimpeded access to their health data.
* A citizens-based network for radiation monitoring near nuclear facilities should be created and financed out of a public fund expressly created for that purpose.
* Independent health inspection of nuclear workers should be carried out periodically.
* The government must immediately and unconditionally withdraw all charges of sedition and other false allegations against people protesting against nuclear projects. By not doing so the government is violating the recent Supreme Court judgement with respect to Koodankulam.
* The government must acknowledge the inherent hazards of nuclear power and institute a high-level citizens’ commission to examine the appropriateness, desirability, safety, environmental soundness, costs and long-term problems posed by nuclear power generation. The commission must include independent experts, social scientists and civil society representatives.
The charter asks the Government of India not to "violate or bypass the Nuclear (Civil Liability) Act 2010 by formulating Rules that violate the Polluter Pays principle and the Act’s spirit and purpose". It must assign "the full liability for accidents and other harm to the operators and suppliers of nuclear installations proportionate to the damage likely to be caused. It is bad enough that the present Act is not based on the moral and legal principle of absolute liability in case of accidents. It must not be further compromised by Rules calculated to artificially limit the suppliers’ liability."
In an apparent reference to the nuclear plant proposed in Gujarat, where the environmental impact assessment was done by an agency which did not have accreditation, the charter says, "The existing process of Environmental Impact Assessment for nuclear projects does not even consider or mention their specific nuclear hazards, including radiation leaks, waste storage, transportation risks, accidents, etc. This must be radically reformed."
The charter adds, "The granting of environmental clearance to all nuclear projects must be tightened with mandatory public hearings based on full disclosure of all pertinent facts, including those related to the generic problems of nuclear electricity generation, including radiation, effluents and emissions, requirements and availability of resources such as freshwater, impact on forests, fauna and flora and local eco-systems, potential for accidents and mishaps, waste separation, storage and disposal, hazards from transportation of nuclear materials, and risks to public and planned measures to mitigate these".

Comments

TRENDING

Iswarchandra Vidyasagar was a 'frustrated' reformer who turned into a conservative

By Bhaskar Sur "If someone says the Manusamhita was written by all wise Manu and the principal scripture of the land and if he asks me to throw it away, I'll say it is nothing short of atrocious audacity." -- Iswarchandra Vidyasagar

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

2002 riots: Gujarat assembly 'misinformed' about dereliction of duty, says ex-DGP

By Rajiv Shah  Former Gujarat topcop RB Sreekumar, an IPS officer of the 1971 batch, has alleged that the Gujarat government gave “totally false information” on the floor of the State Assembly regarding the appeal he made to the Gujarat governor for the “initiation of departmental action against those responsible for culpable negligence in maintenance of public order and investigation of genocidal crimes” during the 2002 riots.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Odisha bauxite mining project to 'devastate' life of 2,500 Adivasi, Dalit farmers: NAPM

Counterview Desk  While the public hearing on mining in Mali hills has been cancelled due to protests by Adivasi and Dalit farmers of the Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti, Odisha, who have been protesting against the proposed bauxite mining project, India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said it is “deeply concerned” at the decision of the Government of Odisha to push the project in a Schedule-V Adivasi-belt Koraput district against the interests of the people and environment.

Economy in tatters, labour codes 'take away' workers' safety, benefits, right to form TU

By Our Representative  The four new labour codes promulgated by the Government of India came in for sharp criticism from several labour unions and civil rights groups at one-day discussion meeting organised in Ranchi (Jharkhand) on the issue of ‘changes in labour laws. Participants in the meeting asserted that under these new codes, many of the benefits and safeties accorded to labourers have been "taken away", while the right of labourers to create trade unions has been attacked.

'Devastating impact': Rural workers suffer as Govt of India NREGA budget down by 34%

Counterview Desk  A civil rights group, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj stating that 34 per cent decrease in the fiscal budget of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) for year 2021-22 has added to woes on India’s rural population, already suffering from “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

Politically-motivated: Global NGO network on ED 'harassment' of Harsh Mander

Counterview Desk  CIVICUS , a top global alliance of civil society organisations seeking to strengthen citizen action and civil society around the world with a claimed membership of more than 10,000, objecting to the alleged harassment of IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander by the Government in India, has said that the the the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raid on his house and office highlights “an ongoing pattern of baseless and politically-motivated criminal charges brought by the authorities against activists across India”.