Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear Poisoning in Jharkand, India

Economy & Ecology: The Inconvenient Truths The Global Calcuttan September 21, 2014 “Capitalism, as it’s conceived and conducted today; capitalism that relies on globalization, unbridled consumerism, deregulation and perpetual economic expansion, is irreconcilable with a livable climate.” – Naomi Klein, Capitalism vs. The Climate

Economy and Ecology: Disclosing the Inconvenient Truths By SB Veda CALCUTTA – This week we feature two articles on the conflict between capitalism and the environment: One describes the mysterious set of illnesses affecting children in the village of Jadugora in Jharkand, India, the sight of India’s first major uranium mine (now closed); and the second is an interview with left-wing author and thinker, Naomi Klein on her new book, which was published, yesterday called Capitalism vs. The Climate……..

Nuclear Poisoning in Jharkand
It is already too late for many of the children of Jadugora, born with birth defects, destined to develop cancer. The story is one of ignorance, lack of adequate regulation, and finally a total breakdown of institutional responsibility within the Indian republic.

In fact, the owner of the Uranium mine situated in the village, The Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) is owned by the Government. UCIL, instead of acting in the people’s interests, systematically dumped nuclear waste, ending up in Jadugora’s water supply. This is water used to drink and wash, water that grows the vegetation consumed by the villagers and their livestock. They are literally consuming and bathing in nuclear poison.

It is no wonder that the defeated UPA government under Manmohan Singh, sought to export liabilities from nuclear mismanagement to potential foreign suppliers after India became a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). In India, the government seems to have abdicated its responsibility to effectively regulate the civil nuclear industry to safeguard the people.

The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) owns UCIL and its operations are covered under Atomic Energy Act, which makes accurate information about the mine extremely arduous to obtain. There is no requirement for public participation at any stage of the process of sighting, designing or building nuclear facilities. In an article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (1999), T.S. Gopi Rethinaraj writes: “The department [of atomic energy] has happily exploited the ignorance of India’s judiciary and political establishment on nuclear issues. In the past, it has even used the Atomic Energy Act to prevent nuclear plant workers from accessing their own health records. While nuclear establishments everywhere have been notorious for suppressing information, nowhere is there an equivalent of India’s Atomic Energy Act in operation. Over the years, in the comfort of secrecy, India’s nuclear establishment has grown into a monolithic and autocratic entity that sets the nuclear agenda of the country and yet remains virtually unaccountable for its actions.” (Source: http://jadugoda.jharkhand.org.in).

Even lawyers at the legal aid society whose responsibility it was to advise the victims of the environmental calamity of their rights and recourse are named as defendants in the public interest suit brought on behalf of the afflicted. Everybody, it seems, was bought and paid for in the oligarchic legacy left by Jawaharlal Nehru that is The Republic of India.

Nehru’s views on the nuclear industry are revealing. The former Gandhian Satyagrahi, wrote to his defence minister shortly after independence that not only did the “future belong to those who produce atomic energy”, but “Defence (was) intimately connected with this.” He was at the ready to fund atomic research – the first Asian government to do so, and his surreptitious plan for a nuclear defence was carried to the next generation and revealed in the misuse of civilian nuclear technology imported from Canada by Indira Gandhi for purposes of defence. This caused all nuclear cooperation between the two nations to cease until recently.

The BJP may have taken the nuclear defence programme out of the darkness, making India a declared nuclear power but it also did little to clean up the civilian nuclear power industry.

Getting back to bribery – though more flagrant in India, is also present in Western democracies as Klein pointed out in her interview: ‘Both by . . . bribing politicians and serving as (an election-campaign) disciplinary force for politicians — you get the money if you do the right thing. But if you don’t do the right thing from the perspective of the oil companies then that same money is used to attack you in television ads and so on.’

September 26, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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