A Conversation With: Journalist Naveen Soorinje


By ROHINI MOHAN
Naveen Soorinje.Courtesy of Daya KukkajeNaveen Soorinje.

On July 28, 2012, Naveen Soorinje, a journalist with the Kannada television network Kasturi Newz 24 in Mangalore, Karnataka, covered an attack by a mob from the right-wing group Hindu Jagarana Vedike on a group of boys and girls having a birthday party at a suburban resort. A cameraman, Seetharam, who goes by one name, filmed the brutal assault, which lasted half an hour.

Widely known as “the homestay attack,” it was only one of a rising number of incidents of sectarian moral policing in the developing and modernizing city of Mangalore. But when Mr. Soorinje and Mr. Seetharam were arrested in November, along with 43 others, and charged with conspiracy, rioting and unlawful assembly, the case inspired an intense campaign for media freedom and Mr. Soorinje’s release from jail. Mr. Soorinje was freed on bail on March 23, and the charges against him and Mr. Seetharam were finally dropped on Friday.

In an interview with India Ink, Mr. Soorinje spoke about what he learned during his time in jail and the dangers he sees in extremist groups and in the complicit police in Mangalore.

 

Q.

Since your arrest in November 2012, you maintained that you only recorded the attack and were not a participant. What led to charges being dropped now?

A.

Civil society groups and journalists appealed to the Karnataka chief minister’s office for charges to be dropped. They had approached the earlier B.J.P. [Bharatiya Janata Party] regime, but that was the government that in a way put me in jail, so we didn’t expect them to release me. It was only after the new C.M. from the Congress Party took charge that he signed the petition to drop charges against me. Of course, when the Congress was the opposition party earlier, they didn’t do anything then.

Q.

How were your five months in Mangalore jail?

A.

This might sound odd, but it was good that I saw the inside of a jail. As a journalist, my view of crime stopped at the arrest, police and trial. The life of imprisonment was a blind spot. I found that the increase in communal tensions in Mangalore has led to even the jail being segregated. In the A block, are the Muslims and Dalits, largely convicted or accused of terrorism, smuggling or theft. The B block is the Hindu block, with thugs from right-wing groups — people who attacked girls for talking to boys, or for drinking. I’m Hindu, but since the attackers I filmed and thereby got arrested were in B, the cops thought I’d be safer with the Muslims and Dalits.

I stayed in different wards every few weeks, chatting with whoever was willing to talk. It was eye-opening, the abysmal conditions, the twisted interrogations, the stories of so many innocents or one-time petty criminals that languish in prison for ages while their trials go on for decades.

Q.

Have threats and intimidation against journalists grown in the past few years in Mangalore?

A.

Yes, it has been a crucial part of the communal groups’ intention to intimidate society. After the pub attack of January 2009 — I was a print reporter then — [the Hindu extremist group] Sri Ram Sena upped its violent projects. Hindu boys and Muslims girls can’t eat ice-cream together, can’t sit together in a bus. The attacks on college kids were all over.

I’m lucky to have a secular, fair editor. I’d reported on all this with a group of like-minded reporters. We shared tip-offs, created maximum coverage. We were disgusted with the random attacks on women and even more ashamed by most media that focused on the so-called moral degradations — girls’ drinking and smoking and going with boys — than the assaults by these communal thugs.

We got life threats. People came around my house, screamed on the phone. They burned the press of the local paper I worked at, set fire to the editors’ chair. My editor was arrested; I was chased a few times. The head of Sri Ram Sena, in a press conference, said that it is not enough to kill one fellow. Openly, he said,” We should take out one more journalist, then Mangalore will be fixed.”

Q.

What have the police done to stop this?

A.

These lumpen elements have free rein because of two things: people’s discomfort with modernity and westernization, and police complicity. In the homestay attack, when the police turned up, they conversed with the attackers for over half an hour. One victim tried to escape, but the police caught him and brought him back. In custody, the police allowed the attackers to beat him.

Why did they detain the victims? The Mangalore police do this — take the scared, assaulted kids to the station, call their parents, and then give them advice. “Don’t send your girls with boys, don’t let Muslims and Hindus interact in college, why is your child drinking, don’t you know Indian culture?” This is moral policing, what else? Beat, and then give unsolicited advice to the wrong person.

Q.

The police blamed you for not informing them about the attack even when you were tipped off earlier by a source.

A.

That is untrue. I repeatedly called the inspector of the local police station, Ravish Nayak, from my official number. Nayak did not pick up. The attacks had begun by then, and there was mayhem; the poor girls were screaming. I asked my friend Rajesh Rao of channel TV-9 to call the police. He also called Nayak, again in vain.

My cameraman and I were the first people there, and we tried to record everything. Other journalists came in minutes. We all shot, but we couldn’t stop the drunk, crazy goons attacking the young boys and girls.

It was a birthday party. When I got there after a local source tipped me off — not one of the attackers, as my phone call record shows — a girl was sitting on the porch, and two boys were playing games on their mobile phone. There was no rave party, as the goons alleged.

Q.

You were also accused by the police of abetting the attack because you didn’t stop it.

A.

This is an old dilemma in journalism: do you stop the action or do you report it? But here, I had no dilemma. I was screaming and requesting, “Don’t hit the girls.” The camera has caught my voice, but the attackers were unwilling to listen. They were like a pack of lions. I couldn’t physically stop them. No one could. [Read a translated version of Mr. Soorinje’s full account of the attack here.]

It is common today in India for mobs to call the local media informing them of a planned raid or attack. This is their way of getting publicity. Just 20 days before this homestay attack, a girl was molested publicly by a gang in Guwahati, Assam. In that, the cameraman was egging the attackers on, instructing them. So it may seem like I was in the same situation, but I was not.

Q.

How do the people of Mangalore react to this? Have the sectarian groups influenced their actions?

A.

Mangalore is both modern and conventional. That friction is being exploited. People live their lives as they please, but in private. In public spaces like buses, colleges, restaurants, there is a lurking fear.

The homestay incident was in July 2012. After that, there have been 10 other assaults. None have been investigated, and visual evidence is limited. Moreover, some tabloids — why, even big dailies — mangle the issue. If the Bajrang Dal [a Hindu fundamentalist group] has slapped a girl who was smoking, the headline will say “Smoking girl slapped.” It’s a combination of right-wing ideology and power driving the police, goons and some of the media.

Q.

You are still with Kasturi TV, and still in Mangalore. Has this experience changed the way you report or live now?

A.

There is an angle of caste that I’ve begun to understand. For example, all the boys and girls attacked in the homestay are Muslims or from backward castes. The accused goons are also from backward or lower castes, barely educated until third or fourth grade. All the leaders — of Sri Ram Sena and of the Vedike — are high caste, sitting happily in Bangalore, never arrested, only giving wildly inflammatory speeches on Hindutva to their minions without any consequence. I’ve realized that accountability must go further than the immediate actors.

I used to always try and do balanced reports — you know, quote both sides. But now I want to expose the attackers even more strongly. There is nothing to redeem them.

Rohini Mohan is a journalist based in Bangalore. She is working on a book about the civil war in Sri Lanka.

[This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.]

http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/

 

#MadrasHC- issues notice for withdrawal of cases against anti-nuclear activists


Chennai, June 18, 2013

PTI

 The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered issue of notice to Tamil Nadu Government asking why steps were not taken to withdraw cases filed against anti-nuclear activists protesting against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project.

First Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Kumar Agrawal and Justice M. Sathyanarayanan, ordered notice to the state government and sought reply within three weeks.

The notice was issued on a petition which sought a direction to the state government to withdraw all criminal cases filed against anti-nuclear activists, who have been protesting against the Indo-Russian project in Tirunelveli District.

The petition referred to the Supreme Court’s direction to the state government to withdraw all criminal cases against the protestors.

 

47 yrs after being gang raped by Army men , two Mizo women compensated #Vaw #AFSPA


Adam Halliday : Aizawl, Sun Jun 16 2013
FP

The Central government has given Rs 5 lakh each as compensation to two Mizo women who lost their sanity after being allegedly gangraped by Indian Army soldiers 47 years ago, at the beginning of a 20-year insurgency in what is now the state of Mizoram.

Relatives of the two women told The Sunday Express that they “wept for joy” at the Centre’s gesture, which came after former members of the Mizo National Army (MNA), the armed wing of the Mizo National Front (MNF) that fought a guerilla war against Indian armed forces between 1966 and 1986, lobbied with Union home ministry officials for compensation for the women.

Sources said the ex-MNA members, who were helped by retired Mizo IAS officer H V Lalringa, visited Home Secretary R K Singh in New Delhi on May 16. Singh is learnt to have advised them to open bank accounts for the women in order to channel the compensation.

Official sources confirmed that the money was recently paid from a secret fund after clearance from the highest authorities in the home ministry. The home ministry declined to comment officially on the matter.

“I wept when I heard the news from bank officials on Wednesday evening,” J Laldula Sailo, a brother of one of the women told The Sunday Express over the phone from East Lungdar in Mizoram’s Champhai district.

“I immediately hugged my sister and told her God has been kind to her after all the suffering,” he said.

Sailo, who retired as a teacher from a government middle school and the son of the erstwhile tribal chief of Mualcheng village where the alleged sexual assaults took place, said that his sister these days sits around smoking most of the time, with a blank expression on her face.

He said she can do almost nothing by herself, and needs help to go to the bathroom or relieve herself. “She eats very little, and can only perform small tasks like putting her plate in the sink after she has eaten,” Sailo said. “But she is generally not at all troublesome. She just sits quietly in a corner.”

Sailo said his sister and her childhood friend were raped one night in November 1966 at Mualcheng, after Army personnel advanced towards the village after being fired upon by MNF rebels in East Lungdar. The soldiers were fired upon again as they came close to the village, and in retaliation, they herded all the villagers together and set fire to their homes.

Lalnghakliani Lailung, a state government employee and the younger sister of the other woman who was raped, said the two girls were kept separately in a small shack, where soldiers allegedly took turns raping them. Both the victims were daughters of prominent villagers — while the father of one was the erstwhile chief, the other was the daughter of the head of the village council.

“Since our parents died long ago, my siblings and I take turns to look after my sister. She has extreme paranoia, and for many years after she was raped, she would sew together long nightgowns and refuse to sleep alone. Even now she keeps talking of a big dark man she sees in nightmares, and is very suspicious of everyone. She says we are impostors who have dressed up like her siblings to harm her,” Lailung said over the phone from Kolasib, the headquarters of a nothern district, where she plans to build a house to live with her sister. Her sister currently stays with relatives in another small town.

“I was so happy that I wept and prayed when I was told the compensation had come. The former MNA men have been very kind to us, pursuing the issue all these years,” Lailung said.

“In a sense, we feel this gesture is an acknowledgment and an apology by the central government for the atrocities committed during those troubled times,” she said.

 

NWMI condemns insensitive media coverage of gang rape victim in West Bengal #Vaw


June 17, 2013

The Network of Women in Media, India, an independent forum of media professionals across the country, condemns the recent insensitive media representation of the 20-year-old college student at Barasat, West Bengal, who was recently gang-raped and violently murdered. In papers such as The Telegraph, Protidin and several other newspapers/channels, the victim’s name and her family’s have been freely used. More shockingly, Bangla newspaper Aajkaal  printed not only the victim’s name but also her photo on its front page.

The victim, a 20-year-old college girl, was gangraped and murdered on her way home from college on Friday, June 7, 2013 around 2 pm. Aajkaal printed her photo with related news on June 9.

Publishing her name is a clear violation of the Supreme Court’s order that the identity of a rape victim cannot be disclosed. Such disclosure is prohibited under Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, as well as the Norms of Journalistic Conduct issued by the Press Council of India (2010). Under the IPC, revealing the identity of a rape victim is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 228 (A to D) of the Indian Penal Code prohibits the disclosure not only of the victim’s name but also of facts that could lead to the identification of the victim, such as the victim’s place of residence, family or friends, university, or work details. This covers victims who are dead, minors and or have “unstable minds”. Even if the name is to be disclosed for welfare or legal reasons, this must be done in writing, only to the appropriate government authority, which does not include the media.

The reasoning for not disclosing the name of a rape victim is that such disclosure would invade the privacy of the victim and may render her open to further harassment and/or indignity. Revealing the identity of a rape victim could also make her (or her family in case she has not survived) vulnerable to pressure to drop the case.

In a context where the incidence of violence against women in West Bengal (and elsewhere) is rising, it is of grave concern that the media is flouting the law of the land as well as norms of ethics laid down by the PCI.

We demand:

1. Immediate pixellation and removal of all identifiers of the rape victim on online portals and the newspapers’ websites.
2. Issuance of a written apology in the newspapers, including their websites.
3. Institution of mechanisms for ensuring increased gender sensitivity while reporting cases of sexual violence. These measures could include, among others: on-the-job training, workshops, and evolving in-house norms for covering gender-based violence.

Sincerely,

Manjira Majumdar, Kolkata
Rajashri Dasgupta, Kolkata
Ranjita Biswas, Kolkata
Anju Munshi, Kolkata
Rina Mukherji, Kolkata
Ammu Joseph, Bangalore
Laxmi Murthy, Bangalore
Gita Aravamudan, Bangalore
Kavin Malar, Chennai
Kavitha Muralidharan, Chennai
Nithila Kanagasabai, Chennai
Jency Samuel, Chennai
R Akhileshwari, Hyderabad
Sandhya Srinivasan, Mumbai
Jyoti Punwani, Mumbai
Geeta Seshu, Mumbai
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Mumbai
Kalpana Sharma, Mumbai
Sandhya Taksale, Pune
Linda Chhakchhuak, Shillong

 

#India – ‘Who Killed my daughter Ishrat Jehan ? #Vaw


Statement by Shamima Kauser mother of deceased Ishrat

June 18, 2013

Image

18th June, 2013

My daughter Ishrat Jehan was abducted, illegally confined and killed in cold blood by officers and men of the Gujarat police, in June 2004. She was killed as part of a larger conspiracy which had a political agenda. Ishrat’s murder was projected as an ‘encounter’ and justified by branding her a terrorist who had come with 3 other men to attack the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. This was not the first fake encounter in Gujarat, other Muslims too had been executed in similar staged encounters, committed in the name of protecting the Chief Minster of Gujarat. Some of these other fake encounters, which are nothing but pre meditated extra judicial killings, are already under investigation and prosecution.

My young college going daughter, Ishrat, was studying and working to earn and support her brothers and sisters, after the death of her father. Since the day of her murder, I have been stating hat my daughter was innocent and had no links whatsoever with any terrorist or criminal activity. The same was categorically asserted by me in the Writ Petition field by me in August 2004, before the Gujarat High Court, seeking a CBI enquiry to establish the innocence of my daughter and justice through punishment of her killers.

For 9 long years the Gujarat state, has abused its power, to obstruct, delay and derail the investigation, so that the hands and masterminds behind this heinous crime are shielded from legal accountability. The State of Gujarat and its senior IPS officers have filed frivolous and vexatious petitions in the Supreme Court, coerced witnesses, and deployed many other unlawful tactics. My lawyers have resolutely met each challenge and worked to uncover the truth.

The report of the judicial enquiry by the Magistrate Shri S.P. Tamang, in September 2009, concluded that my daughter was innocent and had been murdered by Gujarat police officers and men. The SIT appointed by the Gujarat High Court, under the Chairmanship of Shri R.R. Verma, too concluded in 2011, that the encounter was fake and not genuine and that Ishrat Jehan had been killed in prior custody. Under directions of the Gujarat High Court the investigation was transferred to the CBI and a FIR for murder and other grave crimes lodged in 2011.

The CBI is investigating the murder of my daughter and 3 others. This investigation is being monitored by the Gujarat High Court and a status report of the investigation is regularly filed before the High Court. I have always placed my faith in the Court and pray that the Hon’ble High Court will ensure that my struggle for justice is not in vain. The CBI investigation has already led to the arrest of many senior Gujarat police officers and men. The CBI investigation has revealed that complicit in the staged fake encounter of Ishrat and 3 others in 2004, were not only police officers of Gujarat, but others as well.

The evidence collected by the CBI, as expressed to the High Court on the last date of hearing i.e. 14th June 2013, points to a larger conspiracy. The conspiracy appears to include Mr. Rajendra Kumar a senior officer of the Intelligence Bureau. The CBI counsel stated before the High Court on 14thJune, 2013, that their investigation shows that IB Officer Mr. Rajendra Kumar not only knew about the illegal detention of my daughter Ishrat but was directing the operations.  I am astonished and distressed to hear that attempts are being made to protect Mr. Rajendra Kumar from arrest and custodial interrogation by the CBI.

I am also surprised that the media is projecting the CBI investigation as an attack on the institution of IB. To my mind, what is worrying, if not dangerous, for the security of India, is if high ranking officers in institutions such as the IB, abuse their position and fabricate information, to advance a communal and politically motivated agenda. It is in the interest of the country if such people are weeded out of the IB and the security of all the people of India protected.

Clearly, the investigation of the CBI is moving in the right direction and to thwart it a very crude and motivated move was orchestrated, by planting some audio-tapes with a private media channel viz. Headlines Today. There is not a whisper of allegation against my daughter Ishrat Jehan in these socalled IB audio recordings. Significantly the timing of the broadcast of these tapes, on 13th June 2013, by a compliant private TV channel, the night before the hearing by the High Court, not only makes them highly suspect, but in fact betrays that they are desperate to shield the guilty. I would like to state here that my lawyers will be sending a legal notice and will initiate appropriate legal action against Headlines Today TV channel for the false, scandalous and defamatory statements made against my deceased daughter Ishrat Jehan.

When the next day the Additional Advocate General of Gujarat, brandished these planted and concocted CDs before the High Court, on 14th June, 2013 and made specious arguments for them to be taken on record, the nefarious design and purpose was clear to all. The Gujarat High Court not only rejected this fallacious plea of the State of Gujarat, but also sternly reminded it of its constitutional duty to protect its citizens and admonished it for continually obstructing the investigation into the staged encounter.

I strongly reject and denounce each and every allegation and statement that refers to my deceased daughter Ishrat Jehan as being a terrorist or having any links with any terrorist activity or group. In the past too attempts have been made to taint the name of deceased Ishrat by planting false, concocted and baseless news reports. What is significant is that the judicial enquiry and impartial and professional investigation have always upheld the innocence of Ishrat.

The State of Gujarat has on each hearing before the High Court argued strenuously to disrupt and disturb the CBI team that is investigating the killing of Ishrat and others. As I observe the progress of this investigation, I ask the following questions. Why is the State of Gujarat so keen, almost desperate to remove Mr. Satish Verma, IPS, from this investigation? What does the State of Gujarat fear this diligent and honest investigation will reveal? Who are the persons the State of Gujarat is trying to protect?

I have a right to know the complete truth – who killed my daughter Ishrat Jehan, who masterminded her murder, who stood to gain from the cold blooded killing of a young Muslim girl. I have a right to complete justice, and for that it is necessary that the entire conspiracy is unearthed and all those responsible for eliminating my innocent daughter are indicted, charged prosecuted and punished.

#India – Nuclear utility grabs land #WTFnews


Author(s):
Akshay Deshmane
Issue Date:
2013-6-30

Public sector NPCIL encroaches upon mango plantations near its Ratnagiri plant

Faded white line has  
been marked by NPCIL for building a wall, says Latika PawarFaded white line has been marked by NPCIL for building a wall, says Latika Pawar (Photo: Akshay Deshmane)

LATIKA PAWAR had just returned home after working at her mango plantation when she heard a loud noise outside. The 54-year-old called other residents and rushed to her field, a stone’s throw away from her house in Dhaniwre hamlet of Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district. “A bulldozer was moving towards our mango plantations, which are in the vicinity of a proposed nuclear plant. Two days earlier (on May 13), boundary lines with white chalk and yellow paint were drawn through our plantations,” recalls Pawar. “Company officials (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited or NPCIL) were preparing to build a compound wall of the plant through our plantations,” she says. “The corporation has persistently harassed us over the past one year to extend the wall,” adds resident Mahesh Ramchandra Waghdhare. At least 10 plantations with 250 mango trees are likely to be lost if the compound wall is built, say residents of Dhaniwre.

In 2010, NPCIL acquired 938 hectares from several villages in Ratnagiri’s Rajapur taluka amid much resistance from residents who are yet to accept the compensation package. The land on which Dhaniwre sits and the surrounding area was not part of the land acquired, claim the hamlet residents. The records of Ratnagiri collectorate support their claim: survey number 119, which stands for area under Dhaniwre and its surrounding, is not part of the project site. NPCIL itself has said several times that the land under the survey number 119 will not be acquired.

Bhikaji Wagdhare, sarpanch of Madban village, which includes Dhaniwre hamlet, alleges, “NPCIL slowly wants to force out all the residents from Madban and encroach on the land to accommodate the world’s largest nuclear plant. This is why they have not yet revealed the centre point where the reactors will be placed.”

NPCIL did not respond to Down To Earth’s calls, SMSs and e-mails.

On that eventful afternoon of May 15 when the bulldozer had almost dug a pit in the ground, the hamlet residents managed to stop it. “Since we were complaining, they asked us where would we like to have the extended compound wall. We said nowhere. They promised that if the wall comes up, our plantations would not be touched and water and power arrangements would be made. But we do not trust them,” says Pawar. The bulldozer left for the day and did not return. For Dhaniwre, home to 135 people, mango is the main source of income. “We earn Rs 1 lakh annually from mangoes. This year, however, our earnings were down by half,” says Pawar.

On May 31, the sarpanch wrote to Ratnagiri district Collector Rajeev Jadhav, complaining about the encroachment and overextraction of groundwater from the project site, leading to water scarcity in Madban. Jadhav is yet to respond.

The owner of a plantation which is abutting the compound wall approached the Mumbai High Court last year. Bhikaji Wagdhare’s petition stated, “… homestead has been encroached post impuned clearance (environment clearance) issued and without following due process of law”. Before this, he had filed a complaint against NPCIL’s alleged encroachment in the Nate police station in Rajapur. “The police did not act. They said the case is not in their jurisdiction,” he says.

In its judgement, the court directed Wagdhare to approach the National Green Tribunal for the clearance-related complaint and local courts for relief against encroachment. “I suffer from paralysis. How can it be expected of me that I should follow all the local courts?” asks Wagdhare, who now resides in Mumbai’s eastern suburb of Bhandup.

Collector Jadhav admits that “survey number 119 is not included in the list of land parcels to be acquired”. He denies knowledge of any encroachment near the plant site. However, in a telephonic conversation, he added, “We have asked NPCIL not to go beyond its (boundary) limits.” When asked if any written order was sent to the corporation, he said, “Verbal communication is enough.”

Pawar rues, “We have lost our paddy fields to the plant site. If we lose mango plantations to the compound wall, survival would be difficult.”


Source URL: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/nuclear-utility-grabs-land

 

Areva seeks help of French govt on cost sharing for Jaitapur project in Maharashtra


Sanjay Jog  |  Mumbai  June 16, 2013 , BS

NPC insists that per unit tariff be equivalent to new coal based project during phase I commissioning

In a major breakthrough, Areva, which proposes to initially supply two evolutionary pressurized reactors (EPRs) of 1,650 MW each for Jaitapur nuclear project in Maharashtra, has sought the intervention of treasury officials of France government and banks to find a way out to address the issue of cost sharing. While the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Nuclear Power Corporation, which is a project developer, are emphasizing the need for higher level of indigenization or localization, the French reactor supplier Areva does not want to reduce its share on supply of reactors and components by admitting to increased burden.
Areva spelt out its move to refer cost sharing issue with treasury officials of the French government and lenders during its recent meeting held in France on June 5 & 6 with a high level Indian team consisted of Dr CBS Venkataraman, additional secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Preman Dinaraj, director (finance), Nuclear Power Corporation and Sandeep Singhroy, Jaitapur project director. This is also important when DAE and NPC want the Centre’s intervention to provide a special package to share increased cost burden.
When contacted Areva officials declined to make any comment.
However, NPC official, who did not want to be identified, told Business Standard “Areva has indicated that capital cost per megawatt will be Rs 24-25 crore in the changed circumstances while we are insisting on Rs 12-14 crore. We are aware that Areva will not accept any compromise on its copyrights. However, we expect Areva to cooperate by accepting higher level of localization in order to reduce the capital cost. During the signing of inter governmental agreement between India and France in December 2010, NPC had projected the per unit tariff of Jaitapur project at the time of commissioning in 2017-18 will be equivalent to the per unit tariff of newly commissioned coal based power project in the country. This was estimated in the range of Rs 4 to 7 per unit depending on the nature of the boiler, turbine and generator used in new coal based power project in the country.”
NPC official admitted that the situation has changed as the cost escalation is quite imminent in view of the incorporation of additional safety applications necessitated after the safety review held globally following the Fukushima nuclear accident took place in Japan in March 2011.
NPC hoped that Areva’s move to seek the opinion of treasury officials of the company and lenders may give a necessary push for ongoing negotiations. It is also significant when Areva and NPC are unable to sign the commercial agreement for the Jaitapur project and resolve contentious issues with regard to India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill, credit arrangements for the construction and the final cost of the Jaitapur project. The official informed that Areva has indicated that the commissioning of first phase can be possible in 2021 if all these issues are settled at the earliest.
Meanwhile, Jaitapur project opponents including Konkan Bachao Samiti have estimated a per unit megawatt cost of Rs 38 crore and the per unit tariff of Rs 14. According to them, the total project cost works out to be a whopping Rs 3,76,200 crore. However, NPC officials have said that the project cost will be finalized only after its talks with Areva are concluded.

 

#India – From war to peace #chattisgarh #Maoists


 
By Binayak & Ilina Sen
Story Dated: Saturday, June 15, 2013 , The Week
Illustration: Bhaskaran

The horrific killings of Congress leaders by armed Maoist guerillas that took place at Jiram Ghati in Chhattisgarh on May 25 have drawn the world’s attention. The latest victim was Vidya Charan Shukla, who succumbed to his wounds on June 11, at the age of 84. The victims included Nandkumar Patel and his son Dinesh, who were shot in cold blood after being led away. The bodies were found with their hands tied behind their backs. Sixteen of the victims were unarmed Congress workers, who were returning from an open political rally organised by the Congress in preparation for the coming Assembly elections.

In a statement issued after the incident, the Maoist spokesperson regretted the loss of lives of the unintended victims, in an argument that chillingly echoed the justification provided by the government for the killing of eight unarmed civilians, including four children, by CRPF commandos at Edesmata a week earlier. The militarisation and existence of dual state power have transformed political discourse into a hall of mirrors.

Many today recognise and accept the legitimacy of the resistance of tribal communities against the forcible acquisition of land, water, minerals and other natural resources by the state for handing over to large-scale corporate interests in the current climate of neo-liberalisation. Displacement and dispossession in the course of these developments have become a threat to the very survival of these communities, dependent, as they are, on their access to common property resources. Many would also accept that in case of widespread militarisation of state intervention in campaigns like Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt, these targeted communities had the right to defend themselves and their interests.

However, the reduction of the terms of discourse to military resolution only precludes any other points of view from being articulated. What we would also like to emphasise is that the so-called ‘collateral damage’ of battle is actually the main product of violent conflict, a huge proportion of which is paid for by women, children and other vulnerable sections of society. Thus, while much of the discourse centred on this confrontation is about the legitimacy or illegitimacy of different components of this violence, perhaps it may be more productive to shift our focus on ways and means to get past this current impasse and concentrate instead on the possibilities of inducting a discourse that is centred on the restoration of peace and well-being of the communities that live in conflict areas.

We are more than conscious of the fact that such declarations of peaceful intent are greeted in most circles with raucous laughter. However, people who are thus amused should remind themselves that those opting for a scaling up of conflict have little to show for the strategies they have advocated. Political declarations made by the ruling elite, as well as the advocates of revolutionary violence, that have been made after the Jiram Ghati incident, as a necessary step to ensure justice, do not give much hope for the possibilities of peace. Perhaps, that is why, at this juncture, it is more necessary than ever for those who believe in peace and the possibilities of a strategy based on peace, to declare themselves and commit to work towards creative alternatives.

editor@the-week.com

 

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