Fake Public Hearing of Haryana Nuclear Power Plant Denounced
By Toxics Watch Alliance
18 July, 2012
Fukushima to Tokyo, 238 km, Fathehabad to Delhi is 210 km
New Delhi July 18, 2012: Haryana State Pollution Control Board attempted to hold a fake public hearing for the proposed 2800 MW nuclear power plant at Gorakhpur village in Fatehabad district by central government’s Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) without the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report on 17 July, 2012 at Sahid-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Stadium in Gorakhpur, Fatehabad, Haryana. Villagers’ bitter protest against the plant in the backdrop of manmade disaster of Fukushima compelled the officials to huddle together and leave the venue abruptly. The collusion between the administration and the NPCIL was quite manifest.
The villagers underlined that such plants should not be set up. A total 1503.5 acres of agricultural land is required for the project. The villagers turned up in huge numbers to denounce the nuclear power plant amidst massive police presence. The angry protest of Haryana villagers a day after biggest rally in Tokyo after manmade disaster of Fukushima demanded an end to nuclear power signifies the unity of the struggle. A large candlelight vigil surrounding the Japanese Parliament is scheduled for July 29. In Fatehabad, a big program is planned on August 17, 2012 against the Gorakhpur nuclear power project.
The activities at the Sahid-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Stadium demonstrated the veracity of what has been stated in a paper ‘The environmental impact assessment process for nuclear facilities: An examination of the Indian experience’ by M.V. Ramana wherein he has rightly argued that “the EIA process with regard to nuclear projects in India is of dubious quality.” The three levels of conflict of interest that has been identified in the EIA process for nuclear facilities are relevant for the EIA report of the proposed atomic power plant in Fatehabad.
First, the EIA is prepared by consultants who are retained to work onbehalf of, and by implication act in the interests of, their client —the nuclear organization proposing the project. Second, the organization that has been tasked with preparing the EIA to support its proposal for a project, is the same organization that will beneﬁt from the project.
The third conflict of interest is that the regulatory agency Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority is itself regulated by the nuclear power promoters, the Atomic Energy Commission which is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister.
The EIA report reveals that the water requirement for the project will be met from Fatehabad Branch of Bhakra Canal. Unlike sea as a source of water in the case of Fukushima, in Fatehabad, canal water is the only source for water. A detailed critique of the voluminous EIA report is under preparation.
Within minutes of the departure of the officials from the venue of the stage managed and fake public hearing due to massive opposition from thousands of villagers who are against the setting of the hazardous plant in their fertile agricultural land, Member of Parliament from Hisar, Kuldip Bishnoi reached and assured his support against the nuclear power plant. Abhay Chautala, the MLA from Ellenabad also entered the venue and promised to stop the construction of the proposed nuclear plant in the way it has been done in developed countries like Germany.
Both Bishnoi and Chautala expressed their solidarity with the protesting farmers. Both the leaders challenged the Haryana Chief Minister to locate the plant in his own village instead of endangering the villages of Fatehabad.
Such stance by members of legislature was in complete contrast with the conspicuously deferential approach of the district administration towards the project proponents. Authorities illustrated the fake nature of the public hearing process as they left without reading out the minutes of the proceedings and seeking consent of the villagers who were there as is mandatory under Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006.
It is noteworthy that the distance between Fukushima and Tokyo is 238 kilometers despite this after the nuclear disaster on 11 March 2011, forcing Tokyo population to evacuate. The distance between Delhi and Fathehabad where the nuclear power project is proposed is 210 km. It is high time residents of Delhi engaged with the imminent nuclear radiation threats from the proposed atomic power plant and prepared for emergency evacuation if the Fatehabad facility comes up.
Kisan Sangharsh Samiti which is protesting against the plant for the last two years was present at the venue of the staged public hearing beside citizen groups and civil society organizations like Haryana Kisan Manch, Azadi Bachao Andolan, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) and Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
The EIA report has been prepared by Ranchi based MECON Limited, formerly known as (Metallurgical & Engineering Consultants (India) Limited), a public sector undertaking under the Union Ministry of Steel. Peoples’ movement has long been demanding that Mecon should be blacklisted for continuously producing low quality and misleading reports for uranium mines.
The EIA report prepared by Mecon which was leaked one day ahead of the farcical public hearing is attached besides the Executive Summary.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 9818089660
Eemail@example.com, Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com
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