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

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.