Indian Film on Tarapur Nuclear Project “High Power’ nominated for Yellow Oscar #mustshare

Documentary on Tarapur Nuclear Project affected people

‘High Power’ nominated for Yellow Oscar

World Premier on 23rd May at Rio-de-Janerio, Brazil

About 50 years ago India’s first nuclear power plant established at Tarapur. In the emotional patriotic feelings the locals happily gave their fertile lands. Today after 50 years we heard some news that the second generation of those patriotic farmers are agitating at Tarapur for their basic amenities. We the city dwellers read such news and forget next day. But what exactly happened in Tarapur in last 50 years in Tarapur? What happened to the dreams which were shown to them in those days? That’s is untold. To enlighten the world outside about the dark sorrows of the villagers whose village is now producing light, a documentary was planned, which further named as ‘High Power’. The film which was made to give voice to the pains of those thousands of people is produced through people’s participation. Then some veteran artist from Hindi, Marathi stage and cinema world came forward to mix their voice with these people. The National Award winner actor Vikram Gokhale and leading Marathi actress Ila Bhate narrated for Marathi version of the film and senior actor from Hindi and English film and stage Tom Alter and Shivani Tibarewala narrated the English version of   film. Along with these celebrities few technicians and producers from film industry helped a lot to make this film happened.  Now the film is translated in seven languages which includes some foreign languages like French, German, Japanese, Chinese and Portuguese along with Hindi and English. So now the film is truly International and now set to talk to global media and audience, but as the Censor Board has raised objections film cannot be released in India.

Though the project is named as Tarapur, it is not standing on the land of Tarapur village. Few villages in the vicinity of town Tarapur were displaced about 50 years back. Their issues related to rehabilitation are still pending, they lost their traditional business of fishing at the same time they did not get new jobs in this project, there are very serious issues related to their health like cancer, TB, kidney failures and also impotency. A protagonist is roaming in villages and whatever he sees there that is the film. The film never talks on this issues or gives its comments but as per the common middleclass mentality film only suggests what a common, middleclass person can do at his best.

The film High Power is sent to participate in different International Film Festivals and it was a great pleasure that it got nominated for ‘Yellow Oscar’. Every year in the city of Rio-de-Janerio of Brazil an International Uranium Film festival calls nuclear related films from all over world. This year more than 150 films participated in this festival, out of which 48 got selected in three sections of feature film, short film and animation film, in which High Power selected in short film section of 19 films. Today High power is within best eight of entire festival. On 23rd May High power will be screened in festival at rio-de-Janerio and it will be its World Premier. To be present in this world premier and the festival, film director Pradeep Indulkar and one of the displaced fisherman from Popharan village Chandrasen Arekar are going to Brazil. This is an opportunity for the representative of displaced people Arekar to talk to the global media and the international audience.

For this trip the expected expense is around two and half lakh rupees. The team High Power appeal the city dwellers who are using the power of Tarapur Nuclear Plant from last 50 years and those who really feel that the local people who scarified their land, homes and in some cases lives should be heard, could take the burden of this expenditure together and the sensitive people could come forward to bear this expenses. Those who wish to contribute for this venture can drop a cheque in favor of High power – Big Dreams at the address 29, Kaushik, Shreenagar, Sector-1, Thane – 400 604 along with their name and address or transfer the fund through net banking in A/c No 003120100013362 (High Power-Big Dreams) in Thane Janata Sahakari Bank’s Naupada, Thane branch (IFS Code-TJSB0000003) and inform us on e-mail



#India- When life is cheaper than nuclear power

Published: Monday, Jan 7, 2013, 10:00 IST
By Dilnaz Boga | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Members of New Socialist Alternative protest against nuclear power in Bangalore on Wednesday, October 24, 2012. (Pic used for representational purpose only)
Anantha Subramanyam K | DNA

Poonam Hambire, a resident of Ghivali village, 12km from Boisar in Thane district, is at the forefront of the anti-nuclear agitation against the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS). “Women have to come forward as false cases are slapped against the male protesters in Tarapur,” she alleges.

Her village lies within the 1.6km radius around one the country’s oldest nuclear reactors built by General Electric in the 1960s. It’s the same model as Japan’s Fukushima reactor. The effects of radiation are obvious in every home not only in Ghivali but also in the neighbouring villages.
At Hambire’s home, her eight-year-old nephew’s garlanded photo adorns the wall. “He died of lung cancer, but we couldn’t get his medical reports from the government heath centre. It’s hard to talk about it as his father who is employed at the plant will lose his job. None of the sick villagers get their medical papers,” she claims.

Grievances galore
Most of India’s 20 reactors are on the list of the most unreliable 50 in the world and are being monitored by the IAEA, says former navy captain Dr Buddhi Subbarao, who has a PhD in nuclear technology from IIT-B and is an advocate in the Supreme Court.

The decommissioning cost of a nuclear reactor (about $300 million-5.6 billion) is more than the cost of construction and commissioning. That’s why TAPS hasn’t been decommissioned despite the American manufacturers’ advice to the government to do so in 1995, Subbarao adds.

Ramakrishna Tandel, secretary, Maharashtra Machimar Kruti Samiti, who has led the fishermen’s community in the area for years, says, “The mangroves have dried due to the hot water released from the plant’s cooling system. We have found boiled fish 2km away from shore. The breeding patterns of the fish have also changed and our businesses have collapsed.”

“Forget listening to our grievances, they don’t even let us stand at the gate. We are sandwiched between TAPS and the sea. Earlier, we had 28 boats, and 10 families would live off each boat. Now, we have just one,” he adds. The government has proposed 14 more nuclear plants in the area.

The discharge has increased considerably after TAPS 3 and 4 started, say villagers. The adjoining sea and creek continue to bear the brunt and many species of fish have diminished completely. Chronic illnesses are on the rise, observes environmentalist Girish Raut.

Nuclear troubles
All nuclear-spent fuel from India is being brought to BARC, Tarapur, for reprocessing and later, cooling, storing and intermediate burial-storage, amounting to high concentration of nuclear activity material in Tarapur. Tandel explains that NPCIL has no evacuation routes for the villagers in case of emergency, or even any medical facilities, food or a shelter plan. Also, residents of Palghar and Dahanu are also at high risk. “Hence, we are opposing the expansion of the facility and the port that Jindal is going to build here,” says Tandel.

Every fortnight, the authorities take samples of soil and water for testing from the villages in the plant’s vicinity, but the results are never shared with the inhabitants.

A 40-year-old maintenance mechanic from the neighbouring village of Pofran, who works at TAPS, complained about pain in his joints. “About 29 of us have been employed on contracts so we get no medical treatment. I earn Rs300 a day; how will I spend on doctors? We have to live with what we suffer from,” he says.

“People don’t talk about cancer here due to the stigma. Who will give their daughter’s hand in marriage to such a family?” asks deputy sarpanch of Ghivali Sunil Prabhu. Take the example of Prakash Ambhire, 47. He died of eye cancer last November. “He worked as a helper in the plant. He didn’t get any treatment and there are no case papers. He is survived by his aged mother, a son and three daughters,” Prabhu adds.

RK Gupta, 73, who worked with BARC’s fuel reprocessing division of the plutonium plant as an engineer and has been exposed to radiation, is suffering from its after-effects.

“Labourers and contractuals are appointed from the roadside. There is no proper health procedure. They die on the roadside after their contracts are through. But employees are treated differently. I was over-exposed and I am handicapped now. I was diagnosed early but I am suffering because of medical negligence. I have psoriasis,” he says.

Apathetic state
Rajendra Gavit, minister of state for tribal development and labour affairs, who addressed the fishing community on World Fisheries day last month, said, “Project-affected people will get permanent jobs in the plant. We are fighting to make 200 workers permanent every year.”

Gavit added, “I realise the issue about cancer and radiation. Doses (radiation) for the employees need to be reduced. We have been trying for their safety all these years. Now, we are trying to decrease their exposure.” At TAPS, contractual labourers may be exposed to 1,500 doses in two months and employees to 1,000 a year.

Vivek Sundara, an anti-nuclear protester, says, “Studies from all over the world show that any kind of radiation is bad. If it’s harmless like the government says, then why are women told not to breastfeed after mammogram? Government needs to stop using nuclear energy and switch to more sustainable and eco-friendly forms. This toxicity will last for millions of years,” he adds.

Scientist Dr V Pugazhenthi, who had conducted a survey in Chinchani village, 8km from the plant two years ago, said cases of neuroblastoma can be attributed to radiation. “Even 40km away from the plant cases of unexplained anaemia, Down’s Syndrome, tumours, high rate of abortions and miscarriages and multiple myeloma are seen.”



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