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

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

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.

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

August 9 to be observed as Corporates Quit India day: Top farmers' group

By Our Representative A recent general body meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the top farmers' organisation, stated hat "there is no need for any illusion of change in the pro-corporate policies of the BJP-NDA government" following the recent elections in which BJP failed to achieve even simple majority. It insisted,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi "is hell bent" to continue 'business as usual' policies.

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.

Belgian report alleges MNC Etex responsible for asbestos pollution in Madhya Pradesh town Kymore: COP's Geneva meet

By Our Representative A comprehensive Belgian report has held MNC Etex , into construction business and one of the richest, responsible for asbestos pollution in Kymore, an industrial town in in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh. The report provides evidence from the ground on how Kymore’s dust even today is “annoying… it creeps into your clothes, you have to cough it”, saying “It can be deadly.”

Women's emancipated under Mao: Girl completed primary school, began working in farm collective

By Harsh Thakor*  The book “New Women in New China”, a collection of articles projecting dramatic transformation -- political and economic -- in the status of Chinese women after liberation, originally published in 1972, and reprinted in 2023 by the Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, encompasses the period between 1949 and 1972, seeking to give justice to the subject of women’s emancipation in China after the 1949 revolution.