Environmental Impacts of Mithivirdi Nuclear Project : A Comprehensive Critique


EIA Public hearing: NPCIL asked to do the homework well

VT Padmanabhan, R Ramesh, V Pugazhendi

No to Mithi Virdi nuclear power park – Over 5,000 women and men from 24 villages walked out from an illegal act staged in the name of environemntal public hearing by the district administration of Bhavnagar, Gujarat seeking peoples approval for construction of the Gujarat Nuclear Power Park (GNPP) in villages of Mithi Virdi and Jaspara, on 5th March 2013. The Government of India had decided to import 6 Westinghouse-Toshiba’s AP1000 (AP= Advanced Passive) reactors from USA as part of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal signed by Dr Manmohan Singh and George B Bush in 2005. The communities did not know any thing about that deal, but they came to know about the decision to locate those reactors in their villages on the coast of the Gulf of Khambhat in Saurashtra, when NPCIL started drilling operations in the community owned pasture-land in 2006. The drilling operation was terminated and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and its agents were out-lawed by people.

India ProtestNPCIL had contracted the Engineers India Ltd (EIL) to write the environmental impact assessment report for the project. EIL sub-contracted the work to the Pragathi Labs and Consultant Private Limited (PCPL), Secunderabad, Indomer Hydraulics Ltd, Chennai (both private companies), the National Remote Sensing Centre of the Anna University Chennai and the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON). Their 2 volume report of 800 pages was posted on the NPCIL website on 5th Feb 2013, alongwith the announcement of the public hearing to be held on 5th March, 2013. The Gram Bachao Samithi (Save the Village Commitee) spearheading the movement against the project approached the environmental groups to study the EIA and provide a critique. Accordingly, the Paryavaran Suraksha Samithi (PSS) a Gujarat based environmental organisation and members of the PMANE Expert group (People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, Tamil Nadu) started working on this.

The village committee requested the District Collector of Bhavnagar to allow their experts to depose at the public hearing. Sarpanches /their representatives Shakti Singh, Jaspara, Dharmendra Singh, Mandva, Hira Bhai, Mithi Virdi and Prithwiraj Singh, Khadarpur and Lakhdhir Singh, Paniyali – and Bharat Bhai and Yuvaraj Singh from Uthan – an NGO working on women and water issues presented a memorandum to Mr VP Patel, the District Collector stating that EIL did not have an accredition for writing EIA for nuclear power stations. A demonstration was also held in front of the Collectorate on the same day. In a meeting between environmental activists (Shri Krishna Kant and Shri Rohit Prajapati) and Engineer AV Shah of the Pollution Control Board, it was agreed that the people’s experts will also speak in the public hearing. However, on 4th March, a day before the event, the district collector announced that only the residents within 10 km radius of the project will be allowed to speak, the “outsiders” may submit their written documents.

The expert group appointed by the Village Committee was ready with a well researched alternative EIA. Rohit had done a throguh socio-economic study of the communities with help from 10 MSW students from JC kumarappa College of Social Work. Pugal, Ramesh and VTP were ready with their report which forcussed on oceanography, geology and environment.
Accrording to the law books, an environemntal public hearing is like a court in which the Presiding officer (normally the district collector) acts as a neutral judge – with project proposers on the one side and the affected people on the other side. This neutrality was not seen at the Mithi Virdi public hearing. The background music which was played before the meeting started extolled the virtues of nuclear power and the services rendered to the nation by NPCIL and DAE. Besides the collector and PCB engineer, there were some 20 people on the dias, who were not introduced to the audience. It seems all of them were all from DAE and NPCIL. The people, their leaders and experts were to sit in different barricaded enclosures, numbered on the basis of their “distance from the hyhpocentre”. Each of these enclosures also two armed persons and a video cameraman and a screen.

After explaining the procedure, with a veield threat that this is a government business and everything is videographed, the presiding officer invited the project proponent to present the case. This ws followed by NPCIL’s power-point presentation, which started with the importance of electricity and NPCIL’s past contributions (less than one percent of the total energy consumed in India) and future dreams. The presentation was mechanical, there was no presenter. At this point, Chuni Kaka, veteran Gandhian and Shakti Singh, Chairman of Jaspura village stood up and spoke about the procedural lapses and demanded that the presentation be stopped immediately. The collector was admant and refused to intervene. The people stood up gently and started moving out of the meeting peacefully. No slogans, no disturabnce to the power-point presentation. In less than five minutes, the presentation was stopped and the collector announced that the people can speak. He was too late. In another ten minutes, there were 5000 empty chairs, few hundreds of policemen and security staff with sten guns, about videographers and about 25 men on the dias. Narrating the event at a Press Conference in Ahmedabad on 7th March, Rohit said that as law-abiding citizens, the people could not be party to an illegal act, staged by the district administration.

Several “outsiders” like Krishna Kant, Rohit Prajapathi, Anand, Michaele, Swathi, Damayanthi Modi, Bijesh, several other young people including the volunteers from nearby colleges, lived with the farmers to educate the people on the ill-effects of nuclear power. The March 5 victory at Mithi Virdi is the supreme example of the courage, unity, determination and self respect of a people who are proud food producers. The surplus fruits, vegetables and fish they harvest can be found in the food baskets of people living in towns in rest of Gujarat and elsewhere. Manu Dada, 70 year old farmer from Jaspura said that “we had carried our own food, even though we were told that food will be provided by the organizers. We do not go after free meals”.

The Alternative Environmental Impact Assessment

There are so many inaccuracies and missing data in the EIA. (Scientists do not tell lies, they only withold data, usually in the public interest or for the cause of science!) The alternative EIA written by the Peoples’ Expert Group is about 125 pages. The full report will be published soon. Some very important issues are listed briefly.

1. Nobody will be displaced by the project. No marine fisherfolk family lives in the land that will be acquired. Varshabehen, her family and several others work and live there, within the so-called exclusive zone of GNPP.

Note: The identity card of Varshaben Jesalbhai, issued by the Marine Fisheries Department, Government of India – She lives in a coastal settlement, which is in the exclusion zone of GNPP. All these families have been living permanently there, they are registered voters and have ration cards. According to EIA, (a) no family will be displaced by the project and (b) there is no fisherfolk household within the exclusive zone. Photographed on 6th Mar 2013.

2. Drilling not done

A nuclear reactor has to be built on a stable rock. In order to ensure that there is a stable continous rock under the reactor foundation, rock samples needs to be taken from 100 meters below the proposed site. No drilling has been done at the reactor site, because of peoples protests.

3. Flood Level

The ministry of environemnt and forests had demanded to conduct a study of the maximum flood level and mitigation strategies. The EIA clearly mentions that no study of flood has been undertaken.

4. Impact of the proposed mega engineering project- Kalpasar.

Kalapsar is a $ 10 billion project of Narendra Modi government, which will create a 2000 sq km freshwater lake in the Northern one-third area of the Gulf of Khambhat. A forty km dam will be constructed. There will be a road and rail line on it which will link mainland Gujarat with Saurashtra. Kalpasar Project lies just 43 km north of the Mithi Virdi NPP site. This will change the water level, tidal height and many other variable in the Souther half of the gulf. There is no mention of Kalpasar project in the EIA.

Map of GNPP and Kalpasar project

The western limb of the dam sits on the North-South trending West Cambay Basin Fault (active) that happens to pass 11 km west of the Mithi Virdi site. Dr.B.K.Rastogi, of the Institute of Seismological Research (ISR), Gandhinagar warns of a “reservoir induced earthquake because of the project.” On 21, June 2011 B N Navalawala, advisor to the Gujarat Chief Minister, said thjat “though a study was carried out to assess the impact of an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, the state government now has decided to carry out a study of an earthquake measuring 9.5 on the Richter scale. After the Japanese experience, a need was felt for a re-look at the whole issue.”
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5. Tsunami from the earhquake

If an earthquake of 9.5 on Ritcher hits the Gulf of Khambhat, the tsunami waves it will cause will be higher than those experienced at Fukushima.

6. The Presence of Alang-Sosiya Ship-breaking project

The presence of hazardous industries near the nuclear project site has to be clearly shown in EIA. According to EIA, the Sosiya ship-breaking yard is 4 km from the site. The actual distance is only 700 meters. Because of this, the site is not suitable for a reactor complex. If the nuclear park comes up, nearly forty ship-breaking units will have to be closed.

7. Tidal Range of the Gulf

The tidal range at Gulf of Khambhat is the largest along the Indian coastline. It has been identified as the biggest sediment sink among the five major sediment sinks of India. Gulf of Khambhat has the highest tidal range in India. The mean tidal elevation during spring is 4.7 m at Mahuva Bandar which rises to 6.5 m at Gopnath Point and 10.2 m at Bhavnagar. The maximum spring tide recorded at Bhavnagar is 12.5 m, which is second only to that of the highest tide recorded anywhere in the world (around 17 m at the Bay of Fundy on Newfoundland coast of Canada). So one can assume the spring tide at Sosia – Mithi Viradi coast (the coast that lies between Gopnath and Bhavnagar) to be between 6.5 m and 10.5 m.

There are other unresolved questions about the safety of AP1000 reactor also. To be brief, we only mention that a 3,000,000 liter water tank is perched on top of the reactor building. Normally, these tanks are located on the groundlevel. The water tank 100 meters above the ground level can be an easy target for terrorist attack.

Our critique of Mithi Virdi EIA is based on studies conducted by the scientists of Gujarat government and reputed academic institutions in the country. The EIA presented by NPCIL should be reviewed by an independent extert committee. The project, if implemented, can lead to national disaster, whose impact will be experienced by people and the eco-system, beyond the borders of Gujarat.

Ahamedabad, dated 07 March 2013
Authors are members of the PMANE EXPERT GROUP

 

Mumbai – Delhi Sangharsh Yatre flagged off on Women’s Day from Azad Maidan


A struggle for lie and livelihood against destruction

 

Azad Maidan, Mumbai, March 8th: The Mumbai – Delhi Sangarsh Yatra against the mammoth Delhi – Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) was flagged off on the occasion of international women’s day from the iconic Azad Maidan in Mumbai by women activists from Lavasa, Wang Marathwad, Narmada, Kanjhawala, Delhi, Aurangabad, Pune, Golibar and many bastis of Mumbai in the presence of noted Marathi writer Hirabai Daya Pawar. Women gift life but are repaid with violence and destruction.  Even though the state, political classes and capitalistic forces have joined hands to wreck havoc on us, women will fiercely challenge them in bastis, river valleys, villages, everywhere! This was witnessed today as more than 1000 women from different bastis came together to pledge to carry forward the struggle. Yesterday they bravely stood against bulldozers and the police who with the support of goons of the Shivalik builders, broke down their homes. Yesterday also saw the Maharashtra government showing it true face, beating up women on the eve of women’s day arresting Neha, Johara, Prerna Gaekwad along with Medha Patkar for resisting the demolition at Golibar and Andheri. Dr. Sunilam of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh condemned the violence against women and said that women in Chindwara, Madhya Pradesh are facing goons of Adani group.

 

Our struggle is the same everywhere. Today Capitalist forces want to take away even whatever is left with the poorest of the poor. A small piece of land on which our houses stand whether in cities or farms, is gold. They want it all and that is what is at stake in the DMIC, a 1483 kms highway with an influence area equal to 14% of total land in India and affecting 17% of the population. 70% of the project influence area is agricultural land therefore seriously impacting the food security of the country.

 

Women from every field – academics, literature, media, development etc. were present for the event. Women representatives from various movements, places and organisations like India Against Corruption, the Yusuf Mehrally Centre etc. were also active participants of the events passionately expressing their concerns, complaints and opinions. The children from the Balanandwan Alisarg Kendra, Dahanu road closed the event with a play on evils done against women. 

 

The Mumbai – Delhi Sangharsh Yatra is joined by activists from ten states of the country and will pass through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh . They will finally reach Delhi on 18th March for the Kisan – Mazdoor Mahapanchayat. The Yatra is an organised effort to bring together various struggles going across the corridor as it violates all rights of democratically elected Gram Sabhasa and Panchayats  and threatens fundamental rights and environmental balance.

Medha Patkar, Dr. Sunilam, Suniti SR, Gyaneshwar Shedge, Lingraj Azad, Rajsingh, Vedvati, Kamla Yadav, Prema bhai, Atik Ahmed, Suhas kolhekar, Suniti S.R>, Sumit Wajale, Prerna Gaekwad, Jameelbhai, Prasad Bagwe, Seela M., Madhuresh  and many others will travel from Mumbai to Delhi.

The schedule or the Yatra is as follows:-

8th March – Mumbai

9th March – Raigad/Karla (Pune)

10th March – Dhule/Nandurbar

11th March – Aurangabad/Sinnar

12th March – Umargam(Nargol)

13th March – Surat

14th March – Ahmadebad/Mehsana

15th March – Ujjain

16th March – Udaipur/ Pithampur Industrial area Village Kali Billod

17th March – Jaipur/Rewari

18th  March – “Kisan-Khetmazdoor Mahapanchayat” @Jantar Mantar

19th March  – Convention on “Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor: Myths and Facts” @ Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

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National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org

Twitter : @napmindia

Democracies Don’t Strip Their Women, India Does #Indiashame #womensday


| by Avinash Pandey*

 
( March 8, 2013, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka Guardian) The decision of going naked in protest to the oppression committed on them by POSCO and its supporters must not had come easily to the women of Govindpur village of Jagatsingpur district in Odisha. It cannot come easily to women of anywhere in country, however, much distressed they are. It is a country, after all, that still abides by essentially feudal codes of honour hinged, primarily, on their bodies and punishing those who stray with extreme, and extrajudicial, measures like honour killing with the law enforces looking away.
But then, this is exactly what the women of this POSCO-infested village (to borrow from the mainstream media that refers to all such areas as ‘infested’ by this or that dissenting group) have been forced into. The desperation betraying the decision is unmistakable. It can startle even those who deal with such stories of despair day in and day out. Last time one had seen such a protest taking place was in Manipur in July 2004. The situation, however, was a little different in that case. Manipur has always been a ‘disturbed’ area for the Indian state and condemned, therefore, to be reined in by brute force. Brute force in military parlance, in turn, has always included sexual assault as a weapon of shaming and controlling the enemy.
Elderly women of Manipur were aghast at that and decided for going that protest in sheer desperation. They were a people who had completely lost their faith in the nation that claimed to be their own but acted as an occupying force. It did never treat them, or their menfolk, as its own. Its security forces assaulted the men and raped the women at will and the state legitimised such dreadful practices by allowing the Assam Rifles deployed in Manipur to provide condoms as an integral part of the travel kit, to be used while on patrol duty. Having had enough of this, Manipuri women went to the headquarters of the Assam Rifles, disrobed and flung a banner reading “INDIAN ARMY RAPE US”.
Odisha is thousands of kilometers away from Manipur. It is not a ‘disturbed’ area with the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, a colonial relic very dear to Indian state, in force. Its women are not that alien to Indian state as Manipuri women are to it, despite all its claims on the contrary. Yet, the desperation and the progressive loss of any faith of the citizenry in the state are same. This is what explains the disarmingly simple and yet dangerous message that seeps out of the statement issued by the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS). “Left with no other option, women from the village have decided to get naked before the Policemen tomorrow” is all that it says. The pain and agony it would take to first decide for holding such a protest and then announcing it to the public is something lost on the state and the moral guardians it deploys to keep the pretension of being a democracy on.
     The message that the state is not ready to listen to peaceful voices of dissent is loud and clear. It has abandoned the citizenry for the reasons best known to it and had decided to side with the private interests even at the expense of rule of law. It has shifted the boundaries and pushed the citizens to the extremes. It is no more a struggle for justice that had become a distant dream, but a struggle for survival that starts with being heard and noticed.
The women have reached the decision because the state has abandoned them for POSCO, the multinational company that has been violating all their rights with impunity. They have reached the decision after getting many of their near and dear ones killed by the hired goons of the company. They have reached the decision for the state government sending in an armed-to-teeth police force for cracking down on the peaceful protesters and forcibly acquire the lands even when the environmental clearance that is mandatory for such projects stand cancelled by the statutory authorities.
The immediate provocation comes from the stubborn refusal of the police to lodge a formal First Information Report (FIR), a constitutional right of the people, against the perpetrators of a bomb attack on the nonviolent protesters that killed several of them. Despite unambiguous indications that the attack was carried out by the hired goons of POSCO, the police have obstinately maintained that the deceased were involved in bomb-making and perished when it exploded prematurely, all this without even a pretense of investigation.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the anti-POSCO movement has faced such violence or police apathy. On one hand, it has been a victim of ruthlessly violent attacks on its activists purportedly carried out at the behest of POSCO and on the other a systematic victimisation by the state by filing fabricated cases against them as exposed by a fact finding report titled “Captive Democracy”.
The message that the state is not ready to listen to peaceful voices of dissent is loud and clear. It has abandoned the citizenry for the reasons best known to it and had decided to side with the private interests even at the expense of rule of law. It has shifted the boundaries and pushed the citizens to the extremes. It is no more a struggle for justice that had become a distant dream, but a struggle for survival that starts with being heard and noticed. It is a struggle for asserting one’s existence against those who want to erase the poor and the downtrodden from nation’s conscience. It is, therefore, a struggle for reclaiming the citizenship in a democracy that is going truant.
The signs are not good for such struggles. The wretchedness hitherto reserved for those living on the peripheries of the nation has been slowly, but consistently, moving inwards. The country has already stripped thousands of its women naked underlining what Ms. Arundhati Roy calls a ‘rape culture’. It has looked away when the non-state actors, so to say, have done the same with other set of victims hounded along the fault lines of caste, kinship and religion. It had yet not reached a stage where its women have to get naked in front of the police, supposed to be law enforcers, unlike its atrocious armed forces for their legitimate rights. It would better not let that happen.

 

Tamil Nadu to regulate sale of acid to curb attacks on women #Vaw #Womensday #goodnews


 

Reported by Sam Daniel, Edited by Sabyasachi Dasgupta | Updated: March 08, 2013 , NDTV

 Tamil Nadu to regulate sale of acid to curb attacks on women
ChennaiTamil Nadu would soon be the first state to regulate sale of acid across the counter in an effort to stop acid attacks against women. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has announced that the state would pass an ordinance to regulate sale of acid.The move comes after the death of two women who were targets of acid attack which once again triggered calls for checking easy availability of acid.

21-year-old Vidya was targeted after she refused to elope with the man her family had agreed to give her hand to. The man threw acid on her while she was alone at her workplace in Chennai. Another young woman, Vinothini – an IT professional from Puducherry, also died recently after the man she refused to marry threw acid on her.

Despite the move by the state govt, the families of these victims also want punishment against the attackers. Vidya’s mother J Saraswathi told NDTV, “Whatever crime they commit, they should suffer the same, only then they would realise the mistake.”

Ms P D’Souza, a govt official, welcomes the move. She told NDTV, “I think sale of acid should be regulated. The purpose of purchase should be checked. The moment they think of buying acid they should remember what would be the aftermath.”

Centre’s National Crime Records Bureau has no statistics on acid victims. Some estimates suggest there could be at least 100 acid attacks on women every year. Experts say the government should also strive for a change in mindset towards women.

R Geetha, an advisor to Women’s Rights Movement, told NDTV, “Today women are looked upon as sex objects. They’ve to be looked at as individuals.”

Ms D’Souza said, “It should start right at our homes; if parents stop discriminating boys and girls and demonstrate respect for women, the mindset of boys would change.”

 

#India- The Vanishing Crores- massive swindling in the Rs74,000-crore farm loan waiver


Finance

 

 

 

Devinder Sharma, March 7, 2013:

 

The financial outlay is not matching the outcome. If institutional credit is not reaching the farmers, where is it going?

 

 

Following the disclosure by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) of the massive swindling in the Rs74,000-crore farm loan waiver, announced in the 2009 budget with a lot of fanfare, the entire provisioning of the farm credit allocations have come under a cloud.

Roughly 8-10 per cent of the beneficiary farmers, which means no less than 35.5 lakh farmers did not get any advantage of the loan waiver, and similarly a large number of undeserving farmers walked away with the exemption to repay.

This exposure comes at a time when questions are being asked about who benefits from the significant increases in farm credit being provided for in every budget. In 2012-13, a budgetary provision of Rs 5,75,000-crore for farm credit was made. A year earlier, in 2011-12, Rs 4,75,000-crore was provided. According to Reserve Bank of India, between 2000 and 2010, farm loans increased by 755 per cent. Certainly this is a mammoth growth, and it provides all the reasons to cheer.

This year, finance minister P Chidambaram further enhanced the budgetary allocation for farm credit to Rs 700,000-crore. This is certainly a quantum jump. It gives an impression as if such large availability of farm credit is serving the small and marginal farmers very well, and that all is well on the farm front.

But somehow the growth in the disbursement of farm loans does not match with the real performance on the ground. With over 2.90 lakh farmers committing suicide in the past 15 years, and with another 42 per cent farmers wanting to quit agriculture if given a choice, the continuing agrarian crisis on the farm front is a clear indication that the massive farm credit year after year is either not reaching the beneficiaries or being thoroughly misutilised.

The outlay is not matching the outcome. If institutional credit is not reaching the farmers, where is it going? Time and again we have heard that agricultural credit plays an important role in improving farm production, productivity and mitigating farmer’s distress. Such exuberance in loan disbursal comes at a time when in a recent study on ‘Farm Credit’, the industry association Assocham analysing the disbursement of credit over the last decade, has listed misdirection in farm loans, increase in proportion of indirect credit by banks, misuse of interest rate subvention for diverting credit to other sectors, imbalances in quantity of credit in relation to size of the farm and crops they raise, and virtual exclusion of small and marginal farmers from institutional credit as some of the major problems besetting this sector.

Mute spectator

If you have underlined the last point in Assocham report, it tells us very clearly where institutional credit has failed to deliver. By excluding small and marginal farmers, which forms nearly 80 per cent of the agricultural workforce, hasn’t the government actually failed to reach the benefits to those who need it more? How can the Reserve Bank of India be a mute spectator to the visible misdirection, which in reality should be more visible to them, all these years? Isn’t it a callous oversight or is it deliberate?

A damming news report in a Hindi daily brought out startling reality. According to the report, a confidential document available with the ministry of finance categorically states that despite the increase in farm credit by over 2.5 times in past five years, less than 6 per cent of the total institutional credit is made available to small and marginal farmers. Ironically, the prime minister, the finance minister, the agriculture minister and the ruling party along with its army of economists and planners never get tired of telling the nation of the remarkable strides taken in reaching credit to small and marginal farmers.

In other words, less than Rs 50,000-crore of the Rs 7 lakh crore provided for farm credit will actually benefit small farmers. Remaining amount of Rs 6.5 lakh crore at 4 per cent interest will be misappropriated by agribusiness companies, warehousing corporations and state electricity boards. Why can’t the finance minister therefore segregate the farm credit to tell us how much of it actually goes to farmers, and how much in the name of farmers to other allied activities?

In 2007, of the total credit of Rs 2,29,400-crore advanced by banks, small farmers share was a mere 3.77 per cent. In other words, 96.23 per cent of the farm credit disbursed in 2007 was actually cornered by big farmers or agribusiness companies. In 2011-12, while total farm credit had swelled to Rs 5,09,000-crore (against a target of 4,75,000-crore) small and marginal farmers got only 5.71 per cent. It is therefore obvious that despite knowing where the fault lies the government had deliberately supported agribusiness companies (an increase in indirect credit by banks by enlarging the definition of agriculture) in the name of small and marginal farmers.

It is primarily for this reason that small farmers have been left high and dry. They are left with no choice but to depend on the money lenders who charge exorbitant interests. No wonder, the serial death dance on the farms in the form of suicides show no signs of ending. It has a lot to do with the non-availability of institutional credit.
(The writer is a noted food and agricultural policy expert)

 

 

 

 

Mithi Virdi Nuclear Plant: Experts pick holes in enviornment report


DNA, Ahmedabad, 8 March 2013

Ahmedabad: Experts are already questioning the environment impact assessment (EIA) of the proposed 6000-MW nuclear power plant at Mithi Virdi in Bhavnagar prepared by Engineers India Limited. Why has the report not mentioned the water bodies present in the area where the plant is coming up? Or elaborated on the hazardous industries in its vicinity?

Speaking at a press conference in the city, Dr V Pugazhendi, who has extensively studied the impact of radiation on health, made his dissent quite clear. “It is mentioned that the plant shouldn’t be close to any water body, yet the area where the plant is coming up has two water bodies,” he said.

He said the report also fails to mention the presence of hazardous industries near the nuclear project site. “The EIA report states that the Sosiya ship breaking yard is 4 km from the site while in reality it is only 700 metres from the site,” he said. He added that nuclear plants need 100% pure water and the project plans to use a desalination plant to make use of water from the sea. “But the presence of Sosiya ship breaking yard has already polluted the water and there is evidence to show the presence of heavy metal in the water. How will the plant clean such heavily polluted water?” he asked.

Pugazhendi also said that the report failed to mention the presence of lignite mining taking place in the area. “It is sitting on the Cambay basin fault line and mining only adds to the danger,” he explained.

Also voicing their points of protests were villagers who had staged a walk-out at the environmental public hearing held earlier this week at Navagaam in connection with the project.

“Government officials are allowed to seek the advice of experts, but we are not,” said Baluben of Neshwad village, 25 km away from the proposed nuclear plant. According to Baluben, she and other villagers chose to walk out after the collector refused to allow outsiders (experts) to speak at the meeting. Close to 5,000 people had walked out of the hearing after the collector allegedly refused to let the villagers speak first.

Rohit Prajapati of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti said that the hearing did not follow the proper rules. “There were songs being played exalting the benefits of nuclear power. This is against the rules. You cannot do such things, yet the collector was a mute spectator to this,” said Prajapati.

 

#India- Average daily calorie intake in rural India falls 5%: Govt #WTFnews


PTI : New Delhi, Thu Mar 07 2013, 

Poverty

 

The average daily intake of calories of the rural population, as per the NSSO data, dropped by 4.9 per cent or 106 kilocalories from 1993-94 to 2004-05, Parliament was informed today.

“As per NSSO report based on the survey conducted by it in July 2004-June 2005, the average per capita calorie in-take at all India level in rural areas is 2,047 kilo calories as compared to 2,153 kilo calories based on the results of similar survey undertaken during July 1993-June 1994,” Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Statistics and Programme Implementation Srikant Kumar Jena told in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

This shows a drop of 106 kilocalories and percentage decrease of 4.9 per cent in per capita calorie intake in rural areas over 2004-05, he said.

Jena said the government has taken a number of steps to increase opportunities for livelihood/wage employment and food security of rural people so as to enable them to have access to availability of food and thus better intake of calories.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), Swarnajayanti Gramin Swarojgar Yojana are some of the prominent wage employment generation schemes focussing at rural population in the country, he said.

Targeted Public Distribution System, Annapurna Scheme for Senior Citizens, Mid-Day Meal are amongst the schemes targeted for food security, Jena said.

 

UIDAI mum on #Aadhaar cards for Prime Minister, Sonia #UID #WTFnews


TNN | Mar 8, 2013,

UIDAI mum on Aadhaar cards for Prime Minister, Sonia
The RTI activist demanded to know if Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, other parliamentarians and Union Cabinet ministers possessed Aadhaar cards, UIDAI failed to provide details.
HYDERABAD: A recent RTI query to theUnique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI) for information on whether India‘s ‘top brass’ possessed Aadhaar cards, has come back without any response. The RTI query was filed by city activist Rakesh Reddy.
While Reddy, under the Act, demanded to know if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia GandhiUIDAI chairmanNandan Nilekani, deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and other parliamentarians and Union cabinet ministers possessed Aadhaar cards, the department concerned failed to provide details. The information was cited as “personal” and, therefore, withheld.

“The excuse is silly. I will go in for an appeal to acquire it,” the activist said adding, “Under section 8 (1) (j), one can exempt giving information if it is personal without any public interest. But in this case this exemption would not apply as I just asked if they had enrolled or not and did not ask for any further personal information“.

Explaining the reason for filing the RTI query, Reddy said, “A Union minister had recently said that Aadhaar cards are only for beneficiaries. It is surprising he feels he is not a beneficiary despite benefitting from the state. If they believe in this initiative, the leaders have to be role models by registering for the Aadhaar card first. This only reflects the hypocrisy of our lawmakers and shows that they have the least regard for this initiative.”

He demanded that the salaries and even the attendance of the parliamentarians be linked to Aadhaar card.

 

#India-Semi-nude women oppose police deployment for Posco #Vaw #Protest


BySandeep Mishra & Ashis Senapati , TNN | Mar 8, 2013,

A few hundred agitated villagers including women and children marched towards the police camps demanding its removal. The police attempted to disperse them leading to a clash which left 20 villagers injured.Collector (Jagatsinghpur) S K Mallick said leaders of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) used women as shields against the police. “Police only dispersed the agitated villagers by using batons when they marched towards the police camps,” SP (Jagatsinghpur) Satyabrata Bhoi said.

“The police attack is condemnable. It speaks volumes about the state government’s attitude towards democratic movements,” PPSS president Abhay Sahoo said.

What left cops stunned was a handful of women baring part of their torsos in protest. It is the first time it has happened here

“The women were protesting against deployment of police in their village. They had no option as the government has turned a deaf ear towards them,” Sahoo said.

PPSS has been spearheading the anti-Posco movement. It happened in Gobindapur where the government has been acquiring land by dismantling betel vines and felling trees. It acquired 250 acre in the first week of February and a few more acre during the past few days. “We have temporarily stopped dismantling betel vines,” Mallick said. The government says it has acquired around 2000 acre and needs another 700 acre so that Posco could begin its first phase work.

On Wednesday, Sahoo had said women and children as part of ‘democratic resistance’ would stage nude protest if the administration does not immediately stop land takeover. On Thursday, he repeated this, saying: “The government did not acquire land acquisition. Whenever they restart the process, we will go to any extreme. Our protest will be non-violent.”

 

International Women’s day- We are One Woman: A Song #Video #Womensday


From China to Costa Rica, from Mali to Malaysia, acclaimed singers and musicians, women and men, have come together to spread a message of unity and solidarity: We are “One Woman“.

Launching on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2013, the song is a rallying cry that inspires listeners to join the drive for women’s rights and gender equality. “One Woman” was written for UN Women, the global champion for women and girls worldwide, to celebrate its mission and work to improve women’s lives around the world.

This year, International Women’s Day focuses on ending violence against women — a gross human rights violation that affects up to 7 in 10 women and a top priority for UN Women. As commemorations are underway in all corners of the globe, “One Woman” reminds us that together, we can overcome violence and discrimination: “We Shall Shine!” Join us to help spread the word and enjoy this musical celebration of women worldwide.

 

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