Skip to main content

"Rampant" land acquisition in Karnataka for building nuclear weapons capacity, alleges top US non-profit body

The wall around the "proposed" N-site
By Our Representative
A “secret” acquisition of of nearly 4,290 acres of land adjacent to Varavu Kaval and Khudapura villages in the district of Chitradurga, Karnataka, which place seven months after India’s Parliament ratified the US-Indian nuclear cooperation by Parliament May 2009, has gone internationally controversial six years after the process began.
An investigation by a top American non-profit organization, the Centre for Public Integrity (CPI), has allege that the manner in which the acquisition took place “stunned” the villagers, who were “not told” at the time about any of these transactions, and even the documents were released to them — mostly pastoralists and tribals — two years later.
While the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), India’s premier defence research agency, was given away 1,500 acres, the Indian Institute of Science, a high-profile research centre of Bangalore that has “frequently worked” with the DRDO and India’s nuclear industry, was given 573 acres, and yet another and 1,810 acres were given to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
The CPI said, in a report by Andrian Levy, “Experts worry that India is creating new fuel for an arsenal of H-bombs by taking away tribal lands are taken for a top-secret atomic city, known as Challakere, where centrifuges will spin uranium capable of being used in powerful bombs.”
The labourers “began excavating protected pastureland” in 2012, and members of the nomadic Lambani tribe were “startled”, said Levy, adding, “For centuries, the scarlet-robed herbalists and herders had freely crisscrossed the undulating meadow there, known as kavals, and this uprooting of their rich landscape came without warning or explanation.”
"Disgruntled" tribals and pastoralists 
“The environment ministry approved the Mysore site’s construction as ‘a project of strategic importance’ that would cost nearly $100 million in October 2012, according to a letter marked Secret, from the ministry to atomic energy officials that month”, Levy said.
He added, “This letter spells out the ambition to feed new centrifuges with fuel derived from yellowcake — milled uranium ore named after its colour — shipped from mines in Jadugoda, 1,200 miles away in India’s north, and to draw water from the nearby Krishna Raja Sagar dam.”
“In July 2013, six years after the plans were green-lit by Delhi, the National Green Tribunal — India’s environmental agency — took up the villager’s complaints”, Levy said, adding, “It dispatched investigators to the scene and demanded that each government agency disclose its ambitions in detail. The DRDO responded that national security trumped the tribunal and provided no more information.”
“By the spring of 2014, more than 17 miles of 15-foot-high walls had been built throughout the kavals, catching out villagers who had not been consulted. They were now prevented from grazing their cattle or, in some cases, from reaching holy sites. A few broke through the walls. Most were rebuilt immediately and security patrols by a private company now guard them:”, said Levy.
“BARC and the DRDO still provided no detailed explanations to anyone on the ground about the scope and purpose of their work. Highlighting local discontent, almost all of the villagers ringing the kavals boycotted the impending general election, a rare action since India’s birth as an independent democracy”, Levy underlined.
“In Challakere, construction continues despite a ruling by the National Green Tribunal on August 27, 2014, that called for a stay on all ‘excavation, construction and operation of projects’ until environmental clearances had been secured”, Levy said.

Comments

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Demand for Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama as top RSS leader warns China of 'strong' action

Nava Thakuria*
Dharamshala: Indian supporters for a free Tibet have urged the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, for his “immense contributions” in creating goodwill for India in the last six decades. A declaration, adopted at the 6th All-India Tibet Support Groups’ Conference held on June 15 and 16 in Dharamshala township of Himachal Pradesh, said that the Nobel laureate continues to be a holy ambassador of Indian culture enriched with non-violence, compassion and religious harmony.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.

There is no 'separate' Kashmir story, as there is for Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Palestine

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The name Kashmir derives from the Sanskrit Kashyapmeru. The Greeks knew it as Kaspeiria. Herodotus called it Kaspatyros.