Press Release- PMANE’S RESPONSE TO NPCIL’S SER – Koondankulam


People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)                   May 24, 2012

Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104

Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu

Phone:             98656 83735      ;             98421 54073

koodankulam@yahoo.com

pushparayan@gmail.com

 

 

Press Release

[1] As per the Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2012/000544/18674 dated 30.4.2012, the Central Information Commissioner ordered “to provide an attested photocopy of the Safety Analysis Report and Site Evaluation Report after severing any proprietary details of designs provided by the suppliers to the appellant before 25 May, 2012.” The CIC has stated categorically that “if the said reports have details of designs of the plant which are specially provided by the suppliers,” “the PIO can severe such design details which have been provided by the supplier as per the provisions of Section 10 of the [RTI] Act.”

 

[2] The NPCIL in its reply to the CIC argues that the Safety Analysis Report (SAR) “is a ‘third party document’ and therefore, without the prior consent of the third party, the same cannot be shared with anyone.” Although they are holding the SAR in a ‘Fiduciary Capacity,’ the NPCIL has said it is “ready and willing to show the copy” of SAR to the CIC. But they cannot share it with the people of India. Obviously, the NPCIL is more interested in the safety of the Russian company and the Russian benefactors but not in the safety of the people of India.

 

[3] The Central Public Information Officer, Shri S. K. Shrivastava, has sent “the copy of Site Evaluation Report for KKNPP 1 & 2” with the cover letter No. NPCIL/VSB/CPIO/620/KKNPP/2012/769 dated May 17, 2012.

 

Physical Shape of the so called SER:

The so-called Site Evaluation Report (SER) consists of twelve (12) pages of hardly-legible typed-material with no cover page, no authorship, no ownership, no publisher, no date, no index, and no head or tail. If the print quality of the so called SER is anything to go by to assess the standard of the overall Koodankulam nuclear power project, we have so much to worry about our and our country’s future. You can hardly read a word and rarely decipher a number. Maybe that is the way NPCIL prepares its important public safety reports so that no one can and will read, understand, discuss, debate and ask more questions.

 

Moreover, the so called SER mentions the Soviet Union in several places and it proves that the report is also quite old and outdated. Common sense tells us that this is certainly not the original or complete ‘Site Evaluation Report’ for KKNPP 1 and 2. And if it really is, then Indian citizens have something serious to worry about. In all probability, what we have received is some loose old notes of the NPCIL hurriedly put together to meet the CIC deadline and to mislead the public. It is very strange that the SER of India’s first largest mega nuclear complex that may allegedly house six to eight large imported reactors is 12 loose A-4 sheets. It is unbelievable that an ambitious India-Russia joint project built with a whopping outlay of Rs. 14,000 crore has such a lackadaisical site evaluation study.

 

In the so called SER that has been sent to us, pages 1, 2, 3 and 13 have been expunged without any explanation. It is unlikely that this report may have “details of designs of the plant.” It gives rise to a suspicion that the NPCIL still hiding some crucial public safety-related information from the Indian public. On Page 4, the last paragraph mentions “the site selection committee” and “[t]he present committee” without mentioning the number of members or their names. It is unclear why the NPCIL is trying to hide this vital and relevant information.

 

Startling Revelations in the so called SER:

 

[i] Pechipari Water Will be Taken

The so called SER records on Pages 6-7: “In order to enhance additional reliability for water supply, which is essential for functioning of various safety systems of the reactor, intake well at Pechiparai Dam should be provided at lower elevation than the minimum draw-down level of the reservoir. However, it should be ensured by proper management of water distribution that the water level is maintained above this minimum level.” On Page 11, the SER discusses “Fresh water for make-up and domestic use” and establishes that it is “Assured by State Government. One pipe line from Pechiparai dam (at 65 km) to be laid.” Indeed two pipe lines have already been laid from the tail end of the Kuzhithurai Tamirabharani river along the Kanyakumari district coast and from a location some 5 kms away from the Pechiparai dam through Nagercoil town. The NPCIL authorities simply parrot the unserious assertion that they would not take water from the Pechiparai dam, and the Government of Tamil Nadu ignores our long-standing demand of passing an Assembly resolution against taking the Pechiparai water. As a matter of fact, the Tamil Nadu government has recently allotted nearly some Rs. 5 crore to desilt the dam and maintain it.

 

 

 

[ii] No Evacuation Routes Planned or Prescribed

The so called SER claims on Page 8: “At least two evacuation routes from plant site during an emergency should be provided.” It established on Page 16: “3 routes exist for possible evacuation. Schools and other public buildings exist for adequate temporary shelter, Nagercoil (30km), Tirunelveli (100km), and Tuticorin (100km) can provide communication, medical facilities and administrative support.” But there is no discussion about the escape routes, the condition of these roads, the status of the relief shelters and so forth.

 

[iii] Possible Future Expansion

Under Topography, the so called SER asserts: “Sufficient land available for future expansion.” But the NPCIL officials keep saying that they will not take more land for the KKNPP.

 

[iv] Incomplete and Incoherent Info on Hydrology, Geology, Oceanography and Seismology Aspects

All these important issues are very briefly mentioned in a Table with cursory information and without any in-depth analysis.

·         Tsunami is explained away by saying “Not significant as per preliminary report of CRPPS.”

·         As far as seismotectonic environment is concerned, the report asserts simply that “No active fault within 5 km. Site is seismic zone II as per IS-1893; 1984.”

·         The report says on Page 14: “A lime stone quary of about 70 acres falls within the sterilized zone. The lease for this area expires in 1994. Termination of the lease beyond the period has been requested.” In fact, this quarry has functioned until very recently.

Important and relevant issues such as Karst in the area, the slumps in the sea and the recent mega earthquake in the Indian Ocean have not been mentioned or discussed.

 

[v] Radioactive Waste Details

Solid Waste

The so called SER says:

·         “160-180 m cu per year of cemented waste including spent absorption materials, 40 m cu/yr of compacted waste and 5 m cu/yr of cemented ash will be generated from one reactor.”

·         “Low level solid waste to be buried within exclusion zone in leak-proof RCC Vaults/trenches/tile holes.”

·         Spent Fuel: “Each unit layout can store spent fuel of 5 reactor years in the spent fuel pool located inside the containment.”

 

Liquid Waste Dumped into the Sea

According to the SER, the liquid waste is “[t]o be diluted to 2x10E-7 micro Ci/l when discharged into the sea.” So it is clearly established that the radioactivity in the liquid waste of 6000 mCu/year from two units will be removed in the Ion exchange resin and as evaporator concentrate. It will be further diluted by condenser cooling water to meet the AERB limits and discharged into the sea.

 

Gas Release

The daily releases of gaseous discharge from KKNPP 1 and 2 will contain noble gases, I-131, long-life nuclides and short-life nuclides.

 

Thermal Pollution

According to the SER, “Depth of sea water and large dilution due to sea will avoid thermal pollution.”

 

[vi] Population

The so called SER asserts wrongly that there are no center of more than 10,000 people within 10 km radius zone and no center of more than 100,000 people within 30 km radius zone.

 

There is hardly any mention of desalinations plants, the transportation of the nuclear waste and other crucial issues. To sum up, this SER reads like a practical joke being played upon the innocent people of southern Tamil Nadu and southern Kerala. The PMANE rejects this so called SER and demands the NPCIL to share the real, complete and updated Site Evaluation Report with the people of India along with the Safety Analysis Report as per the orders of the CIC.

 

The Struggle Committee

People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)

Immediate Release-Monsanto to be criminally prosecuted in B.t. Brinjal Biopiracy Case


 Press Release : Bangalore : 24 May 2012

NBA confirms Monsanto/Mahyco and ors. to be criminally prosecuted in B.t. Brinjal Biopiracy Case

In its first official confirmation, National Biodiversity Authority (NBA, India’s independent regulator on all matters pertaining to biodiversity protection, conservation and use) has stated that “it is proceeding with lodging of complaint against the alleged violators” of Biological Diversity Act on grounds of biopiracy in promoting B.t. Brinjal, India’s first transgenic GMO food. This information was provided to Environment Support Group (ESG) in response to a Right to Information query, and a copy is enclosed. As per Indian law, the filing of the complaint against this serious environmental crime assumes launching of criminal prosecution against the violators. India has already enforced a moratorium on the commercial release of B.t. Brinjal on various scientific, legal, health and community concerns.

 

The undersigned on behalf of Environment Support Group had filed a complaint in February 2010 accusing the world’s largest agritech company Monsanto along with its Indian partner Mahyco, Sathguru Consultants (representing USAID and Cornell University) and various public funded agriculture institutions such as University of Agriculture Sciences (Dharwar, Karnataka), Tamilnadu Agricultural University (Coimbatore) and Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (Uttar Pradesh), of accessing over 16 varieties of brinjal endemic to India in comprehensive violation of the Biological Diversity Act while promoting the commercial release of transgenic B.t. Brinjal through 2005-2010. None of the regulatory agencies, including the NBA and Ministry of Environment and Forests, had bothered to verify compliance with the B D Act throught out this period, and began to take action with much reluctance after ESG filed the complaint.

 

The RTI query was filed seeking all documentation pertaining to the case filed by ESG. Shockingly, and quite questionably, NBA has refused to part with the documentation even to the complainants. Justifying this stand, it has controversially and peculiarly claimed that the documentation cannot be shared with the complainants as “the matter is under advanced stage of lodging of complaint and taking into account the intricacies which involve nuances of biotechnology it is felt that it may not be appropriate to provide the documents/instructions at this juncture”. Evidently, NBA is not even sure if this is the right decision to take, and ESG will file an appeal against this decision soon.

 

As reported in the media, the decision to initiate criminal prosecution against this case of biopiracy was taken by NBA in its meeting held on 28 February 2012, after it was put to a vote. The vote became essential as some members of the NBA were keen on stopping the prosecution. This when when NBA had already resolved in June 2011 to prosecute the violators, a fact repeatedly confirmed in Parliament by the Indian Environment Minister Smt. Jayanti Natarajan. ESG has consistently raised concerns over such dithering by NBA to initiate action against violators of the Biological Diversity Act.

 

Karnataka Chief Minister urged to re-initiate prosecution against Bt. Brinjal violators

 

ESG has also submitted a representation to Karnataka Chief Minister Shri. Sadananda Gowda urging him to immediately revive the decision to criminally prosecute those engaged in biopiracy through the Karnataka Biodiversity Board. It may be recalled that the Board had decided to initiate appropriate legal action against University of Agricultural Sciences (Dharwar), Monsanto and Mahyco for accessing 6 local varieties of brinjal illegally from Karnataka, and converting them into transgenic B.t. Brinjal products, all in violation of the Biological Diversity Act. However, due to pressure, apparently brought by none other than the Principal Secretary of Karnataka’s Environment Department (the chief custodian of Karnataka’s biodiversity), the investigation built over two years was suspended in a controversial decision of the Board in January 2012. ESG initiated a mass petition in February this year against this illegal and retrograde decision to the Chief Minister. Over 500 groups and individuals across India and the world have endorsed this representation which is accessible at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/karnataka-biodiversity-board-must-prosecute/. A copy of the representation now made to the Chief Minister is also enclosed.

 

More details about ESG’s efforts to tackle biopiracy in India, including documents listed above, are accessible at: www.esgindia.org

Leo F. Saldanha

Coordinator/Trustee

and Co-complainant in the aforesaid Biopiracy case with

Bhargavi S. Rao

Coordinator (Education)/Trustee

Environment Support Group

 

About ESG: Environment Support Group is a small group committed researchers,lawyers and activists responding to various issues of environmental, social justice and governance concern. More details about the group may be accessed at: http://esgindia.org/about-us/esg-team.html

 

Donate to ESG: ESG relies on public support and your generous contributions to advance its various public interest initiatives.   Details on how you can contribute can be accessed at: http://esgindia.org/about-us/what-you-can-do.html


— Leo Saldanha Environment Support Group – Trust [Environmental, Social Justice and Governance Initiatives] 1572, 36th Cross, Ring Road Banashankari II Stage Bangalore 560070. INDIA Tel: 91-80-26713559-61 Fax/Voice: 91-80-26713316 Email:leo@esgindia.org Blog: http://leoonpublicmatters.blogspot.com/ Web: www.esgindia.org

Mentally ill in India struggle with homelessness


With care centres virtually non-existent and family networks breaking down, streets are becoming the only resort of the mentally ill in India

Malia Politzer & Vidya Krishnan

   Thu, May 24 2012., livemint.com

Kochi (Kerala): Police found the woman wandering on the streets of Kochi in a gauzy, mud-splattered salwar kameez. Emaciated, with matted black hair, slack jaws and a vacant gaze, she couldn’t remember her name or where she belonged. She was taken to a local magistrate, who declared her mentally unfit and placed her in Kauffernaun, a half-way home for the disabled, abandoned, destitute and mentally ill.

“This is what we found after we tried to clean her,” says Sister Juliet, who runs the home, sliding a photograph across the table. The picture is a close-up of the back of the woman’s head. The matted hair had been removed to reveal a chunk of her open skull, riddled with squirming white maggots. She died three days later of heart failure.

The Catholic nun has seen many such cases in her nine years at Kauffernaun, where most of her wards will live until they die. Few will receive full treatment. Such an end often represents the best-case scenario for India’s growing numbers of homeless mentally ill.

Nationwide there are only 37 state-run mental hospitals—a fraction of the number required. In northern India, homes providing long-term care to people with mental illness are virtually non-existent, and the wandering mentally ill become indistinguishable from thousands of beggars in the streets, or migrant workers sleeping on sidewalks.

Two years after former model Gitanjali Nagpal was found begging on the streets of a south Delhi neighbourhood in a confused mental state in 2007, the Delhi high court ordered the government to create wards for mentally ill women in shelter homes within three months. Three years later, little has changed. Four half-way homes have been sanctioned, but none has actually been built.

In southern states, a number of privately run half-way homes have emerged to meet demand. But lacking the resources to meet more than basic necessities, such homes have recently come under fire for their abysmal conditions. In Kerala, the few that exist are now in danger of being shut down.

Homelessness among mentally ill is growing significantly—it’s really become my major concern,” says Nimesh Desai, the director of the department of psychiatry at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), Delhi. “I am getting more and more convinced that in public mental health, the final frontier is the issue of mental illness and homelessness.”

 

Nowhere to go: Mentally ill women staring out of a room at the Capernaum Charitable Trust in Kochi. Sivaram V/Mint

Nowhere to go: Mentally ill women staring out of a room at the Capernaum Charitable Trust in Kochi. Sivaram V/Mint

 

By even the most conservative estimates, roughly 7% of India’s population struggles with some form of major mental illness—at least 70 million people, according to the Indian Council for Medical Research. Yet in urban areas, at least half will remain untreated, and in rural areas the treatment gap is estimated at as much as 90%, according to the National Institute for Mental Health and Neuro Sciences in Bangalore. 

The ministry of health and family welfare estimated that at least a quarter of India’s mentally ill are homeless.

Cutting across class

Today, those numbers appear to be growing—and not just among the poor. Psychiatrists in government hospitals observe growing numbers of mentally ill homeless coming from educated, middle-class backgrounds. “I have seen post-graduates and PhD-qualified people who are mentally ill living on the streets,” said Desai. “It’s an issue that cuts across class and caste.”

Yadagiri was one such man. A 32-year-old with a degree in electrical engineering who lived with his parents in a city outside of Chennai, he began exhibiting signs of schizophrenia in his early 20s—having paranoid delusions, and talking to himself. One day when his symptoms were bad, he wandered out of his house, only to be found by a police officer more than 250 kilometres away in Kerala, who placed him in Prathyasa Bhavan, a home for destitute mentally ill in Kochi. “He was here for a year and a half,” says Ammni Varghesekutty, who runs the home that treated him.

Yadagiri was lucky—he responded well to treatment, and was accepted back into his family. “He didn’t know who he was or where he came from when he came. We gave him treatment and eventually he got well enough to remember where he was from. We returned him home,” says Varghesekutty. Unfortunately, few patients share Yadagiri’s happy homecoming.

Desai says the growing number of homeless mentally ill is linked to India’s economic transformation.

“What’s happening with mental illness is what is happening with many social problems in transitional society,” says Desai, adding that the strong family and social networks that used to provide support to people with mental illness are breaking down. Many families are no longer able or willing to take care of mentally ill relatives so they end up on the streets, he says. But while the governments of developed countries have organized systems in place to help treat the mentally ill, India is yet to make that transition, he adds.

Countrywide, India has approximately 3,500 registered psychiatrists. In practical terms that means three psychiatrists per one million people. Nearly 80% of India’s districts do not have any mental health-care facilities. And long-term care centres are almost entirely absent.

“I calculated sometime ago that, by conservative estimates, we need at least 100,000 vacancies for long-term residential care,” says Desai. “But right now we only have 2,000 throughout India.”

No easy solution

In the southern states, the dearth of government-approved, professionally run facilities has led to the emergence of a growing number of small, unlicensed privately run homes. In most cases, the homeless are identified by the local police, who, after obtaining approval of the local magistrate, route them to such homes.

While exemplary homes do exist—a Chennai-based home for destitute mentally ill women called Banyan has garnered international recognition for its model rehabilitation programme—most leave much to be desired. The dire state of India’s mental asylums has made sporadic headlines since 2001, when 26 mentally ill people died in a fire at Moideen Badusha Mental Home in Tamil Nadu. Chained to their beds, they were unable to escape.

Following the Erwadi incident, the Supreme Court ordered that all such homes obtain licences prior to opening. But five months ago, the issue resurfaced again when another small, unlicensed, privately run home in Thrissur was raided by the police after neighbours complained of foul smell.

Inside, 70 mentally ill men were found chained to windows. Others were sitting in years of accumulated filth.

Shortly after the Thrissur case, a non-governmental organization, Human Rights Law Network, filed a petition in the Kerala high court requesting that the Mental Health Authority mandate licences for all institutions treating or housing mentally ill patients, or shut them down. The authority responded with a counter-petition that all the homes that do not become licensed will be shut down.

But obtaining a licence is next to impossible under the law: Kerala’s mental health policy dictates a doctor-patient ratio of one to 100—an impossible-to-meet requirement in a country with three trained psychiatrists per one million people. There are also specifications on staff strength and infrastructure requirements that sound good on paper but clash with the on-the-ground reality.

While the Planning Commission has not yet announced the size or scope of the outlay for the 12th Plan for treating mental illness, “we certainly hope for an increase,” says Keshav Desiraju, the additional secretary for health and family welfare.

Desiraju is part of the technical committee working on a draft of a new mental health act since January 2010 that aims to replace the Mental Health Act of 1987. Though he does not have a definite timeline for completion, he hopes it will be introduced in Parliament soon.

One improvement in the proposed new act is the establishment of a registry and guidelines governing half-way homes catering to mentally ill with no place else to go. It also attempts to address issues surrounding guardianship and human rights neglected in the Mental Health Act.

But some say the proposed new act does not go far enough. “India was among the first countries to sign the UN Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities, but has yet to align its policies with the UN convention,” says Javed Abidi, director for the National Centre for the Promotion of Disabled People.

Abidi complains that the proposed legislation also neglects key issues—like how to address the question of legal capacity (the ability to decide on issues such as the right to marry or whether to be admitted to a mental institution). “It’s been two years already and the Bill is still very far from Parliament,” he says. “Anyway, it’s a very sad commentary on how badly these issues are neglected.”

Lacking government funding and running primarily on charity, most homes in Kerala are unlicensed, operate under the government radar or regulation, and are unable to afford anything but the basics.

Sister Juliet relies on “helpers” among the inmates whose circumstances are less extreme. In the men’s ward, more than 70 boys and men are confined to two floors by sturdy iron bars and heavy padlocks, left to their own devices for most of the day. At night, they share sturdy wooden cots stinking of urine. The worst affected—delusional and violent—live side by side with those who have only mild mental disabilities. In the women’s ward, one inmate wanders aimlessly from her bed to a small bathroom while another jumps up and down on a small metal cot.

In the north, no homes exist for the mentally ill. IHBAS runs a bi-weekly mobile health clinic near the Jammu Masjid Mosque in partnership with the local magistrate and Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (AAA), an NGO that runs homeless shelters in the capital. Over the past three years, they have managed to treat more than 42 severely mentally ill people, but a lack of resources limits their reach. “If we could evolve a model of half-way homes in combination with functional community-based treatment and mobile clinics, few people would need institutionalization,” says Paramjeet Kaur, the director of AAA. “It’s lack of governmental will, more than anything else.

Immediate Release-Jharkhand is becoming a Military State- Fact Finding Report


Coordination for Democratic Rights Organisations(CDRO) FACT FINDING: SARANDA, PORAIYAHAT, May20-22nd 2012

Interim report/Press release
23rd May 2012
Jharkhand is fast becoming a military state. Similar to operation green hunt which was started three years ago in mineral rich forest areas resided by adivasis, brutal operations are being carried out continuously in Jharkhand as well. ‘Operation Anaconda’ was launched as a special operation in August 2011 in Saranda forest area of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. Reasons for speeding
up of such military operations by the state can be viewed in a twofold context. One the one hand mining activity in Saranda has been on the rise. Saranda is Asia’s largest mineral reserve and holds immense economic importance. On the other hand, contrary to the government claim that the area has been cleared of Maoist activity, infact it is far from being crushed.
In order to gather first hand details of the manner in which the state has reacted to the changing conditions on ground, an all-India team from the Coordination for Democratic Rights Organisations(CDRO) was set up constituting members from human rights organisations of Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand. The team conducted an
investigation in Saranda and the adjoining areas between 20th and 22rd May 2012.
What follows is a brief summary of the observations made by the team. In Puraiyahaat, in January 2011, hundreds security forces entered Kamaay village. They beat up people and arrested four of them called Marshall Bhuiyaan, Nelson Bhuiyaan, Premanad Bhuiyaan and Pinky Bhuiyaan. The first two are still imprisoned while the other two have to appear regularly at the Thana. They are all falsely implicated in helping the Maoists. The CRPF also destroyed property, and mixed food grains in this
village.
On the 20th of May itself, a security operation was conducted in Pandua village. Around 500 jawans entered the village at around 5.30 in the morning. Hallan Huttar was taken away blindfolded and handcuffed by the forces. Villagers now fear his death. Abraham Munda’s property was destroyed, and 3500 rupees were taken away. 15 year old Mithun Bhuiyaan was beaten black and blue. Munda’s
wife and her year and half old son were also beaten up by a high rank police official. One villager was looted of Rs. 10,000 which she had kept aside for buying ox for her fields. Also, a para-doctor here is frequently oppressed with the accusation of treating Maoists. According to the villagers this destruction continued in the village for almost three hours during which the forces also consumed
liquor and marijuana. Few villagers were even forced to flee from their village on that day. In the same village, on the 10th of this month when the forces attacked the village, they also misbehaved with the women here. It was shocking to know that there were no women in the force while women were tortured brutally.
The team also visited 4 villages of Manoharpur block: Tirilposi, Raatamaati, Deegha, Tholkobaad. In all of these villages, forces converted whole villages into their base camp for an entire month.Villagers had to hide in the jungles and many ran away to their relatives in nearby villages to escape oppression. Of those who were left in the village, men were held captive separating them from the
women. They were tortured and even had to relieve themselves wherever they were locked up. Old people who couldn’t run away were beaten up so badly that some of them even died. Houses were burnt and people jailed. Most of them are still in Chaybaasa jail, and according to their families they  are not even sure of the offense of which they are accused. In Tirilposi alone 17 people have been
imprisoned. Economically dented, these villagers are totally unable to follow legal proceedings to get relief. In one of the copies of charge sheets observed by the team, a villager was implicated in UAPA, CLA, and in addition also blamed of sedition and waging war against the state.
Additionally, it was observed that under the IAP, contractors from outside were given work which is against the rules of IAP.
Right after operation Anaconda was completed, the government started a development project in the name of Saranda Action Plan(SAP) under which villagers have been given solar panels, clothes, utensils, and sewing machines as short term trust building measures. The government also plans to introduce long term measures like livelihood options, building of check dams, and training for
employment among others. Simultaneously, in and around these villages security forces are also in the process of constructing permanent camps. Saranda will be home to 20-25 camps soon.
Certain questions come to the fore. How has the state suddenly woken up to the development needs of the tribals here after so long? Is it only a coincidence that Operation Anaconda, the SAP, and private mining project leases are falling in line together here in Saranda? Why has the government cracked down so hard all of a sudden on the people of Saranda?
A trajectory can be spotted in the actions of the government in Saranda. It is clear that the government has failed to estimate the real needs of the people. And with the maoist activity refusing to fade away, the government with the fear of losing ground has reacted frantically by launching brutal operations on the people. By terrorizing the tribals, the state is simply trying alternatives to sustain a larger foothold over them.
It is therefore that we demand, the following:
1. All CRPF, military and para-military camps be removed from the state
2. In the context of mining and SAP implementation, PESA and the 5th Schedule be implemented according to which decision making rests on the tribal communities.
3. All private mining activity be stopped immediately.
4. Justice for those who have been beaten up and exploited, and release of all those people who have been imprisoned and implicated in false cases. The perpetrators, the CRPF instead must be booked for the oppression meted out by them.
5. After this attack on their identity and existence, the autonomy of tribals should be left unaffected.
Members:
Shashi Bhushan Pathak, Aloka Kujur, Mithilesh Kumar, Santosh (PUCL Jharkhand); Puneet, Social
Activist, Naushad, Journalist (Jharkhand)
Gautum Navalakha, Shruti Jain, Megha Bahl(PUDR, Delhi)
Chandrashekhar, Narayan Rao, Rajavindam, APCLC, Andhra Pradesh)
Pritpal Singh, Narbhinder (AFDR, Punjab)
Rajeev Yadav, Shahnawaz Alam (PUCL, Uttar Pradesh)
Chandrika, Prashant Rahi (Independent journalists)

FAQ -Copyright Amendment Act and impact on print Impaired persons


English: A collection of pictograms. Three of ...

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of them used by the United States National Park Service. A package containing those three and all NPS symbols is available at the Open Icon Library (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some Frequently Asked Questions to the Amendment to the Copyright Act of India, 1957 and its Impact on Print Impaired Persons


1. Who benefits?

All print impaired persons be they totally blind, low vision, learning disabled or orthopedically challenged in certain ways are covered by this clause.

2. What can be done now that was not possible earlier?

Print impaired individuals, or authorized service providers / organizations can suitably modify a work under Copyright so as to make it accessible to meet the specific needs of the print impaired person concerned. This means that a standard printed book, for example may be converted to an alternate format (not necessarily a special format) including Braille, large font, text readable by screen reader, audio (be it synthetic audio or human voice recording) without seeking the permission of the rights holder.

3. How is this different?

In the past, any alternate format creation could have been defined as an infringement unless it was backed up by prior written permission from the rights holder. One had to seek the permission if one had to be on the right side of the law. Now thankfully we do not need permissions.

4.  Are there any restrictions?

Yes, there are reasonable restrictions such as
– conversion should be a not for profit activity. In case it is a for profit activity, there is a separate clause under which a special license can be obtained.
– the beneficiaries has to be a bonafide print impaired person or organizations that serve them.
– reasonable precaution need to be taken by all that the accessible copy is not misused commercially.

5. Does this mean that the publisher has to give soft copy?

No. The copyright law does not cover the delivery of books which is the purview of another department and another law. We are planning to take it up as well. For the present, these exemptions allow an existing work which is not accessible to be made accessible without permission.

6. Can accessible copy be shared?

Effectively yes, as long as it is not misused for commercial purposes and is available to print impaired persons only.

7. What is the wording of the clause?

It runs as follows.

Section 52 (1)The following act shall not be an infringement of copyright, namely:
(zb) the adaptation, reproduction, issue of copies or communication to the public of any work in any accessible format, by —
(i) any person to facilitate persons with disability to access to works including sharing with any person with disability of such accessible format for private or personal use, educational purpose or research; or
(ii) any organization working for the benefit of the persons with disabilities in case the normal format prevents the enjoyment of such works by such persons:
Provided that the copies of the works in such accessible format are made available to the persons with disabilities on a nonprofit basis but to recover only the cost of production:
Provided further that the organization shall ensure that the copies of works in such accessible format are used by persons with disabilities and takes reasonable steps to prevent its entry into ordinary channels of business.
Explanation. For the purposes of the sub-clause, “any organization” includes an organization registered under section 12A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and working for the benefit of persons with disability or recognized under Chapter X of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 or receiving grants from the Government for facilitating access to persons with disabilities or an educational institution or library or archives recognized by the Government.

8. What provisions affect the creation of accessible cop[ies when it is undertaken as a not for profit activity?

The following new section involving a compulsory license would be applicable

³31B. (1) Any person working for the benefit of persons with disability on a profit basis or for business may apply to the Copyright Board, in such form and manner and accompanied by such fee as may be prescribed, for a compulsory license to publish any work in which copyright subsists for the benefit of such persons, in a case to which clause (zb) of sub-section (1) of section 52 does not apply and the Copyright Board shall dispose of such application as expeditiously as possible and endeavor shall be made to dispose of such application within a period of two months from the date of receipt of the application.

(2) The Copyright Board may, on receipt of an application under sub-section (1), inquire, or direct such inquiry as it considers necessary to establish the credentials of the applicant and satisfy itself that the application has been made in good faith.

(3) If the Copyright Board is satisfied, after giving to the owners of rights in the work a reasonable opportunity of being heard and after holding such inquiry as it may deem necessary, that a compulsory license needs to be issued to make the work available to the disabled, it may direct the Registrar of Copyrights to grant to the applicant such a license to publish the work.

(4) Every compulsory license issued under this section shall specify the means and format of publication, the period during which the compulsory license may be exercised and, in the case of issue of copies, the number of copies that may be issued including the rate or royalty:
Provided that where the Copyright Board has issued such a compulsory license it may, on a further application and after giving reasonable opportunity to the owners of rights, extend the period of such compulsory license and allow the issue of more copies as it may deem fit.

 

Compiled By:

The Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC)
Dr. Sam Taraporevala
St. Xavier’s College, 5 Mahapalika Marg, Mumbai 400001
#+91-22-22623298/22626329

Family distressed as Indian Government clueless about ‘arrested’ engineer in Saudi Arabia


By Newzfirst Correspondent5/23/12

DARBHANGA – The family of an engineer, who is said to be taken into custody by Indian Police from his rented residence in Saudi Arabia, is distressed over inability of Government to trace him even after ten days of ‘detention’.

Fasih Mehmood, an engineer, native of Darbhanga district in Bihar, working for a private company in Saudi Arabia for the last five years, was taken by Indian police in connection with ‘unknown’ charges, on 13 May, is still untraceable by government of India, according to his wife, Nikhat Perveen.

“Even-though we approached Ministers and officials of External Affairs and Home Ministry in New Delhi, and the Chief Minister of Bihar, they could not get any information about my husband’s whereabouts so far.” Nikhat told newzfirst.

Saudi Arabian police accompanied by two officials of the Indian Police took Fasih into custody from his rented house at Al Jubail near Dammam City, without revealing anything much about the reason to his wife, Nikhat, who was present at home at the time of their visit. “They informed my husband that they have no complaints against him as such; however, he is required by the Indian police with regard to a case in India, for which these people need to enquire.”

Nikhat, who returned to Patna from Saudi Arabia immediately after finding no clue of husband’s whereabouts after detention, enquired with the Ministry of External Affairs, who is reportedly out-rightly denied it saying that the matter does not come under its jurisdiction.

“We had also contacted the Home Ministry, Delhi, Bihar and Karnataka police, but all of them denied having any information regarding the custody of my husband. We are very much worried about.” says Nikhat, appealing to media to help her in this regard.

Illegal detention of Fasih, 29 year old,  son of Dr.  Firoz Ahmad, a resident of Barh Saaila village in Darbhanga, about 200 km from here, with no record of any illegal activities in past, has created apprehensions and suspicions among the family members.

Distressed family of Fasih has been engaged in seeking help with various authorities and rights’ organization to trace him.

Anti Nuke Protesters start a Postcard Campaign Against False Cases in Koondakulam


Idinthakarai Update

May 24, 2012
PMANE Does a Postcard Campaign Against False Cases
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) is carrying out a postcard campaign against the false cases that the Koodankulam police keep filing against our leaders and the people. These post cards will be mailed to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court and the Chief Justice of India in the Supreme Court.
Three particular police officers are behind this false case spree. These public officials use the caste and religion cards deliberately and maliciously to drive a wedge between the two major communities of our area and to incite discord and violence among the people. In fact, the Tamil Nadu government is said to have posted these officers in their present positions with this very purpose.
Mr. Stanley Jones, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) at Valliyur, and Mr. P. Rajapaul, the Inspector of Police at the Koodankulam police station (both Christian Nadars) are dead set on their mission. Many Koodankulam residents have reported that these two men often invoke the Nadar card when they talk to them and to spread hatred against other communities in the area.
Mr. M. Xavier Francis Beschi, a DSP rank officer belonging to Idinthakarai, has been on a special duty to divide the Idinthakarai village, create chaos and confusion among the residents, instigate violence in the community and undermine the anti-Koodankulam struggle. Understandably, he enjoys the support and blessings of many police officers in the area such as Mr. Stanley Jones and Mr. Rajapaul, acts as the handmaiden of higher officials, and meddles with the normal and peaceful life of our people.
These three officers harbor so much anger and hatred towards the PMANE leaders and our people because of their caste and religious prejudices. They are also overzealous in their respective tasks as they may receive possible promotions and other pecuniary benefits such as increments in their department. So they grab on every opportunity to file false cases against us. For instance, these three officers made the husband of the Vijayapathi panchayat president and his brother, habitual offenders, on April 14, 2012 and filed an attempt to murder case on many of us. On May 11, 2012, Mr. Stanley Jones and Mr. Rajapaul beat up Mr. Rajalingam, a Struggle Committee member and school correspondent, at the East Bazaar of Koodankulam.
On May 19, 2012, an inebriated man from Idinthakarai, Joseph Lawrence, broke the windshield of a public bus at around 4:30 PM near the Casa Nagar of Idinthakarai. And our people caught hold of him and handed him over to the bus conductor and driver to be taken to the Koodankulam police station. This incident was correctly reported in Dinamani and Daily Thanthi newspapers. But the Koodankulam police let him go scot free and framed a false case saying that a mob vandalized the bus instigated by the PMANE Coordinator, S. P. Udayakumar. The PAMNE takes a special pride in leading this nonviolent struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant. We are known around the world as the struggle that has resuscitated nonviolence in popular movements. In fact, Shiv Viswanathan, a distinguished sociologist from India, has said recently: “Kudankulam is the Dandi march against nuclear energy. We cannot hypothecate our future to the illiteracy and indifference of the ATOM STAAT.”
In order to expose these three men and their malicious campaign against our people’s struggle, we are undertaking the current postcard campaign. Since we do not think that we will get justice from the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu, we send all the cards to the Chief Justice of Madras High Court, and the Chief Justice of India of the Supreme Court.
On May 17, 2012, the third anniversary day of the genocide at Mullivaikal in Tamil Eelam, the PMANE organized a day-long conference of youth on “The Futures of the Tamils.” Dr. Sandeep Pandey, a Magsaysay Awardee from Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Ponneelan, Tamil writer and Sahitya Academy awardee, S. P. Udayakumar, M. P. Jesuraj and M. Pushparayan spoke at the conference.
On May 18, 2012, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) team came to visit us at Idinthakarai under the leadership of Comrade P. Mahalingam (aka V.P. Nagai Maali), an MLA from Kilvelur constituency in Tamil Nadu. That evening the CPI(M) organized an agitation at Tirunelveli in support of us and some 50 of them including 6 women were arrested by police.
On May 26, 2012, an all party agitation is being staged at 4 PM at the Palai Market Grounds in Tirunelveli in support of the Koodankulam struggle. Mr. R. Nallakannu of CPI, Mr. Thol Thirumavalavan of VCK, Mr. Nanjil Sampath of MDMK, Prof. Jawahirullah of MMK, Mr. Seeman of NTK, Mr. R. Adiyaman of ATP and other will participate in that event.
On May 30, 2012, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) is organizing an agitation at Tirunelveli to support our struggle also.
Since our fishermen have gone back to work, people from Koottapuli, Perumanal and Kuthenkuzhy are organizing a relay fast in their respective villages not to let go of the struggle and to keep up the momentum. The Idinthakarai relay fast has been going on for the past 283 days.
The Struggle Committee
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)

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