Published on Friday, 26 September 2014 16:29
People’s struggle against proposed 6000 MW Nuclear Power Plant at
Mithi Virdi planned with American company -Westinghouse Electric
Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Trupti Shah
Activists of Gujarat
25 September 2014
The affected villagers of proposed 6000 MW Nuclear Power Plant at Mithi Virdi – Jaspara are planning to organise a protest in their villages on 28 September 2014 during the USA visit of Mr. Modi, the Prime Minister of India.
The Central and State Governments, now both led by Modi Government, are seeking to build a 6000 MW Nuclear Power Plant at Mithi Virdi – Jaspara, Bhavnagar district of Gujarat State. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) signed an Early Works Agreement (EWA) with the American company, Westinghouse Electric Corporation for installation of a six 1000 mw (AP 1000) nuclear reactors. There are total 152 villages with a population of more than 200,000within 30 Kms radius of the proposed nuclear power plant. The main occupation of the villagers is agriculture. The rich alluvial soil here supports, crops like Ground Nut, Wheat, Bajra, Cotton, etc and fruits like Mangoes (Mangoes from Sosiya are very famous across the India and they are also exported), Chickoos, Coconut, etc. This area also grows and supplies vegetables like Onion, Brinjal, Gourd, Tomatoes, Drumsticks, etc. The agriculture department has found the climate and soil also suitable for cashew nuts.
Thousands of villagers have been consistently opposing the Nuclear Power Plant with the slogan ‘Not Here’since 2007. Subsequently they have resolved ‘Not Here, Not Anywhere; Not in Any Country in the World’. Yet the previous UPA Government and now Mr. Modi’s upcoming USA visit (25-30 September 2014) is all set to mortgage the environment & labour laws and also to dilute the Nuclear Liability Act even further, so that private profits are safeguarded even as Fukushima exemplified all over again how risky Nuclear Power Plants are.
Here we outline unconstitutional and illegal actions and means adopted by the Government of India and Government of Gujarat to push the nuclear power plant through since its inception.
Environment Impact Assessment prepared by an agency lacking necessary accreditation:
The ‘Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited’ (NPCIL) claiming to be taking utmost care for safety measures had nominated Engineers India Limited (EIL), Delhi, as consultant for preparing Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the proposed 6000 MW Nuclear Power Plant at Mithi Virdi. The said agency, EIL however does not have necessary accreditation to conduct EIA for Nuclear Power Plants. This has been clearly acknowledged by EIL itself in their EIA report on page no 387-389 volume – I. The EIA report clearly states
“12.0 DISCLOSURE OF CONSULTANTS: … For “Nuclear Power projects and processing of nuclear fuel” sector EIL’s application along with other consultants are still pending at NABET. However, till date NABET has not cleared any application related to nuclear sector.”
This clearly reflects the carelessness of the Government of India and NPCIL about the Nuclear Power Plant. Given this basic challenge to the legitimacy of the EIA report, it should not be the basis of an Environmental Public Hearing. How could concerned authorities the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and Gujarat Pollution Control Board allow the Environmental Public Hearing for Nuclear Power Plant to take place when there are grave concerns involving security of the lakhs of people and life on earth is at risk?
Inspite of this the Environmental Public Hearing was conducted on 5 March 2013 in which following crucial issues were raised.
Detailed risk assessments are lacking in the report. The terms of reference granted by the MoEF for the EIA (TOR item number 34 on page 15 of volume I) clearly states that “Detailed risk assessment and disaster management plan should be given,” and the report states that “Detailed risk assessment and disaster management plan is mentioned in Chapter - 7.” However, in chapter 7, there is only a vague discussion on what needs to be included in the disaster management plan, but no real plan is given. In addition, volume I of EIA states “The manual on Off-site Emergency Response Plans would be issued by State Level Emergency Response Committee [p 314]”. However, no such plans are available.
The EIA report mentions (on page 319 of volume I) that “7.4.9 VOLUME-II: PROCEDURE FOR OFF-SITE EMERGENCY: This volume will provide guidelines for handling off-site emergency at Mithi Virdi NPP and deals with emergency management organization, emergency equipment and facilities for handling the situation up to 16 km radius.” One look at the index of Volume II shows that there is no discussion of Off-site emergency in that volume. This is a clear violation of the TOR.
The Terms of Reference for the MoEF at point no. 7 clearly mention that “The study area should cover an area of 10 km radius around the proposed site for conventional pollutants and 30 km radius for radiological parameters.” Instead the EIA report categorically mentions that 30 Kms for radiological areas of the study will be undertaken in future, the radiological survey is yet to be carried out for 30 Kms area and have not been carried out as stipulated by MoEF in the Terms of Reference (TOR).
No villager/village Panchayats in the 10-30 kms radius has been informed or served notice for the public hearing as the rules stipulate by the concerned authorities.
The proposed plant site is falling under irrigation command area identified by Gujarat State Irrigation Department. An application for seeking no objection certificate for development of the proposed project is submitted to irrigation department, Government of Gujarat. Yet again copy of a no-objection certificate to develop the project in an irrigation command area application are not to be found in the EIA report as required by TOR of MoEF.
Even the basic information like the copy of the “Site Selection Committee” was not attached with the EIA and relevant information about the committee was not provided and discussed in the EIA. We were only able to obtain the incomplete copy of the “Site Selection Committee” through an application under Right to Information Act.
The Site Selection Committee – 2005 of Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India clearly states that “Lignite mining is being carried at a distance of 5 kms. towards South. The famous ship-braking yard ALANG is at distance of 20 kms. on the Southern side of the site. The site is about 30 kms. from the Bhavnagar. On the southern side a small check Dam has been constructed to arrest rain water before flowing in to sea. There is hillock after the check dam. The Kalpsar Project, a multi utility concrete dam across Gulf of Khambat is being planned just 18 kms. upstream of the site which may have bearing on the design of intake and outfall structure for the plant.” The report further states that “Lignite mining is carried out nearby but as informed by state government the lignite is of poor grade and mining will be stopped if Nuclear power plant is located in the region. […] Government of Gujarat had informed that there is proposal to develop Mithi Virdi as a port. Gujarat Maritime Board has agreed to shift the proposed port at least five km from the central line of reactor. […] Kalpsar Project Authorities proposes a Dam of 65 Kms. in length and top width of 35 m across Gulf of Khambat of 18 kms north the Chhaya (Mithi Virdi) site. This will have following effects on the Nuclear Power Plant. Sedimentation and effect on intake and out fall of plant, Flooding due to dam break, Aspects of reservoir induced seismicity. […] This Ship Breaking Yard is touching the exclusion zone boundary of the plant. As per AERB Code, within sterilized zone upto 5 Km natural growth is permitted but planned expansion of activities, which will lead to an enhanced population growth are not allowed by administrative measures. These aspects have been brought to the notice, Government of Gujarat who submitted a Technical report in this regard to state the process of ship breaking and enforcement of necessary Regulatory mechanism in each stages of ship breaking.” This crucial information is not mentioned neither dealt in detail in the EIA report.
This report further states that “A detailed Seismotectonic Study 300 kms radius around site is to be carried out for the assessment of seismic hazards leading to determination of design basis ground motion parameters during design state. Seismotectonic status of off shore region will be included in this study in order to ascertain and offshore existence and extensions of lineaments and faults. Micro- seismic survey of the surrounding area will generate useful data for this purpose. In addition effect if any due to Kalpsar on seismicity (RIS) should be taken into account at site evaluation stage.” The present EIA is hiding such crucial information and there is no mention how they are going to dealt with these crucial issues.
We do not agree with many points of the report. Yet to reinforce what this very report states in the end:
“4.14. RECOMMENDATIONS: […] 3) It is recommended that a detailed study be conducted to examine the effect of Kalpsar dam in the upstream of NPP site on the flooding of the proposed site due to breaking of dam in the event of an earthquake of very high magnitude as the Kalpsar dam is located over deep sited fault. 4) As regards the Ship Breaking Yard Sosiya presently located at outskirt of the plant boundary 2 Km away from the centre of the 6th reactor building, the restriction of the growth of population in this sterilized zone (5 Kms) is required to be maintained by administrative action. 5) As regards Lignite Mining, surface mining as done in Kudankulam project can be permissible up to the start of plan construction in case of deep surface mining being taken up by the mining authorities any time permission will not be given without ascertaining its impact on the plant safety.” These crucial recommendations made in the report of the Site Selection Committee are not adequately discussed or addressed in the EIA report.
We strongly feel that the report of the site selection committee provides crucial information, it should have been annexed with the EIA report, and its major points should have been addressed by the EIA. This again shows the inadequacy of the EIA report. We strongly feel that the EIA report is superficial, unscientific, technically not sound and misleading.
‘Unconstitutional and Illegal’ Environment Public Hearing conducted in the ‘Atmosphere of Terror’ for the Nuclear Power Plant:
The “Environment Public Hearing Committee” of the Bhavnagar District had not followed the bare minimum basic procedural norms while conducting the EPH on March 5, 2013 at Navagam (Nana) for the proposed 6000 MW Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant.
Just prior to the EPH proceedings, Mr A. V. Shah, the member secretary of “Environment Public Hearing Committee” of Bhavnagar District had reassured activists that the Sarpanchs of ten villages [Jaspara, Mithi Virdi, Paniyali, Khadarpar, Mandva, Sosiya, Navagam (Nana), Goriyali, Rampar (Garibpura), Bharapara] would be allowed to raise procedural issues after the opening remarks by the collector and the GPCB’s.
The Sarpanchs had already prepared a written submission documenting procedural lapses in the EPH hearing as directed by the authorities. But when the EPH proceedings started, the first violation of the procedures happened, when authorities reneged on their assurances to the Sarpanchs of the affected villages.
Jaspara village Sarpanch Mr. Shaktisinh Gohil started making the point on procedural lapses soon after the opening remarks, but was prevented by the collector Mr. V. P. Patel himself saying that Mr. Shaktisinh Gohil could hold the floor only after the NPCIL presentation.
The main points of the written submission of the Sarpanchs were “The EIA Report for NPCIL has been prepared by Engineers India Limited. According to EIL's own admission it does not have the requisite Ministry of Environment and Forest accreditation to undertake the Environmental Impact Assessment. The EIA Report is therefore illegal.
The EIA Report has not been prepared as per the Terms of Reference (TORs) determined by MoEF. The EIA Report is therefore incomplete. Any public hearing based on such incomplete report would be illegal.
Only 24 villages in a radius of 10 km. from the project have been considered “affected” by the project. A total of 128 villages falling in the 10 to 30 km. radius have not been considered “affected”. The public hearing therefore cannot be construed to be legal.
The High Court judgement dated 28th May 2010 in the matter WP (C) No. 9317 of 2009 and Supreme Court Order of 2011 stipulate that all citizens, including those not directly affected by a project should be allowed to participate in environmental public hearings. Therefore your opinion that such citizens cannot be allowed to speak at public hearings would be a violation of the Honourable Supreme Court and High Court orders.”
This was the second violation because the collector should have first read the written submission on the procedural lapse and opined on it before proceeding with the hearing. About 6000 villagers present in the EPH, left with no choice but to leave the venue and keep them away from such illegal and unconstitutional Environment Public Hearing.
The entire exercise of the illegal EPH was further rendered futile as the collector did not even go through the basics of the procedural norms and did not give ear to democratic representations. The NPCIL presentation should have been held only after the collector had read the Sarpanch’s representation, opined on it, and not otherwise.
The third violation happened with the collector’s complete disregard for the Delhi High Court Judgement, about which he was informed through Mr A. V. Shah in oral discussions. This is in clear violation of the Delhi High Court order in the case of Samarth Trust and Other v Union of India & Others W.P. (C) 9317 of 2009, where it has opined that “….Prima facie, that so far as a public hearing is concerned, its scope is limited and confined to those locally affected persons residing in the close proximity of the project site. However, in our opinion, the Notification does not preclude or prohibit persons not living in the close proximity of the project site from participating in the public hearing – they too are permitted to participate and express their views for or against the project.”
The fourth violation happened when the collector did not again read the Sarpanches’ written submission on procedural lapses, which included the Delhi High Court judgement during the entire EPH, even after the villagers’ walkout, and neither did he express any opinion on it. The collector thus ignored the Delhi High Court judgement, which was a vital point in Sarpanchs’ representation during the entire EPH.
The EPH environment was coercive and terror-filled. Villagers were prevented from making free and fair representation. Not only was there a heavy posse of police force but also private security guards were hired at the EPH site, frisking and checking every entrant, and at places questioning villagers and participants about their antecedents.
There were unnecessary barricades and iron wire fencing between the collector’s dais and the participants area, a first-ever arrangement during the EPH in recent times in Gujarat. The authorities had created an atmosphere of coercive tactics that invoked state control and fear over the proceedings of grave public concern.
Also, the collector allowed songs and recordings in favour of the NPCIL and benefits of nuclear power plant to be broadcast from the public address system arranged by the collectorate. These recordings continued to be played till the EPH proceedings began formally. This is a clear violation of the neutral approach that the collector should have taken on the issue and instead made clear his predisposition on behalf of the NPCIL. On the contrary, the villagers were not only prevented from making free and fair representation; their representations on procedural issues were also ignored during the EPH.
Also, the NPCIL made an audio-visual pre-recorded presentation during the EPH, with no NPCIL official making any opening remarks officially except for switching on computer and other accessories.
Also, there were at least thirty odd people sitting on dais on both the sides of district collector during the EPH, whose presence and background went unaccounted with no one introduced or briefed about who they were and in what capacity they sat there. Their presences are not even marked in the minutes of the EPH. It is also a crucial issue that there be transparency regarding which capacities they were sitting on dais. The villagers and their elected representatives on the other hand got no such chance and instead were frequently frisked and subjected to irritating queries. The villagers were sitting behind the iron barricade at a long distance of the dais.
The additional district collector was sitting on dais next to the Bhavnagar district collector who had convened the EPH, which is strictly against the rules. Additional district collector can sit on dais and chair the EPH if the collector deputes him/her in his absence. The fact that the additional district collector was sitting sharing the dais with the district collector is also not mentioned in the minutes of the EPH.
The EPH was illegal to begin with as it was held based on incomplete, illegal EIA report, prepared by non-accredited company, the procedural lapses point out that the manner in which it was conducted is also illegal and unconstitutional.
The collector, the chairperson of EPH, GPCB regional officers, the member secretary of EPH, the additional collector as well as those on dais who were overseeing the proceedings and representations is responsible for these illegalities by violating environment laws and the Constitution of India.
As this was not enough On 11 June 2013, while giving the so-called CRZ clearance / recommendation for CRZ clearance to the NPP, the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) stated that “The Authority deliberated the proposal of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and after detailed discussion, the Authority decided to recommend to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India to grant CRZ clearance for construction of intake, outfall facilities, jetty and Desalination plant at Village: Mithi Virdi, Dist: Bhavnagar by M/S Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, only after submission of the following details to this Department :
1. Detailed note regarding the safety aspects and site selection criteria along with its advantage for this site and submit to this Department.
2. A site visit should be carried out by GCZMA Member.”
This clearly means that the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authorities is not serious about the CRZ clearance because they have casually given this clearance / recommendation for CRZ clearance without asking for and reading the note on safety aspects, site clearance report and without undertaking the site visit. GCZMA has not taken in account the basics, for instance eventualities like population increase in the immediate vicinity of the proposed plant.
It is unclear if the GCZMA is a victim of the non-transparent and secretive approach of NPCIL, which has not attached the report dated 28 June 2007 of Site Selection Committee even in the EIA document.
People’s Movement demanded that the Ministry of Environment and Forest should reject and review the non-serious so-called CRZ clearance / recommendation for CRZ clearance given to the proposed NPP of Mithi Virdi by the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA).
Indeed, the then Chief Minister Mr. Modi was also not merely silent on the unconstitutional and illegal act on the part of concerned authorities; the agencies of the Gujarat government, in this matter, were working hand in glove with the centre. As The Hindu reported in August 2013, CRZ clearance has been given in a remarkably slipshod way. During and before the Environmental Public Hearing (EPH) for the proposed Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), villagers, local Panchayats and organisations like Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti have brought to the notice of the authorities that Engineer India Limited (EIL), the consultant of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) does not have necessary accreditations to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIA) for a NPP. However, in an instance of utter disregard and disrespect to the Environmental Law and the Constitution of India, NPCIL and EIL went ahead with the EIA study and the collector tried to go ahead with the illegal Public Hearing in March 2013.
The NPCIL and EIL has since then continued to resort to the illegal practices by keeping silent on the issues raised by the villagers. This is evident from its application and presentations for Costal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance to the authorities in Gujarat without submitting adequate documents and information.
NPCIL needs 81 hectares of forest land in addition to the other land for the nuclear power plant. To facilitate this the Taluka Development Officer (TDO) of Gujarat State sent a letter dated July 15, 2013 to Sarpanch of Jaspara directing him to pass a resolution on the lines of the copy that he had sent, so as to have the village body's stamp of approval for the state government transfer of forest land to the NPCIL. In this letter the TDO instead of seeking the opinion of Gramsabha as per the law for the land transfer, illegally and unconstitutionally orders the Sarpanch to pass the readymade resolution. This is the new way of getting the consent from the villagers by the then Chief Minister Mr. Modi.
The Gramsabha of Jaspara unanimously condemned and rejected such an unconstitutional letter of TDO. The Gramsabha unanimously resolved not to hand over the forest land for non-forest use to the NPCIL.
Struggle against Proposed Nuclear Power Plant: Some of Recent Protest by the villagers
Since 2007 villagers have been protesting against the proposed Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant. Many rallies, protests, debates and press conferences were organised by the villagers with facts and figures against the Nuclear Power Plant.
On 23 September 2013 despite heavy rains, people from the villages affected by the proposed Mithi Virdi nuclear power plant took out a rally from village Jaspara. The rally consisted of 69 tractors, tempos and cars and 50 motorcycles and comprising of nearly 2,500 men, women, youths and children. People shouted slogans like “let it go, let it go, let the nuclear power plant go”, “allow us to eat our hard earned rotlo”, “we will give up our lives, not our land”, “let bajra and cotton grow, allow the greenery to flourish”, and “not here, not anywhere; not in any country in the world”.
The rally traversed the 40 km stretch to Bhavnagar, meeting the people in the villages falling on the route. The rally was welcomed at Talaja Jakat Naka by the people of Bhavnagar, and terminated at AV School cricket ground, where it turned into a public meeting. A representative group comprising the leaders of the affected villages presented the memorandum to the then PM Mr. Manmohan Singh through the district Collector.
On 23 September 2013 in an open letter to the then Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh, Sarpanches of several villages in Bhavnagar district had taken strong exception to the Government of India’s proposal for the 6000 MW Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant. Asking the Prime Minister to refrain from signing any agreement with the US government or other corporations and agencies on the proposed N-plant during his visit to the US, the letter stated, "The Government of India has reportedly initiated moves to further dilute the Nuclear Liability Act to seal the nuclear deal with the US government. Intervention of the Cabinet Committee on security is being sought to override nuclear liability for Westinghouse."
Saying that this kind of move to give concession to Westinghouse, the company which proposes to give nuclear reactors to the plant, and seal "a nuclear agreement with US corporations during your visit to Washington will undermine all democratic and sovereign institutions of India", the letter says, this is extremely "worrying". Strangely, "the dilution of the Nuclear Liability Act is being touted as a 'gift' to the US government and international nuclear corporations."
Registering strong protest, the letter says, "We strongly condemn this brazen contempt for an Act enacted by the sovereign parliament of India. To assure the US government and nuclear industry that the Government of India will make sure that the operator (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.) will not use its ‘right of recourse’ against suppliers of defective equipment is a shameless sell out of Indian peoples’ lives".
The letter adds, "To offer a liability-less playing field to the international nuclear corporations, whose constant decline has been greatly exacerbated by the setback after the Fukushima catastrophe, actually amounts to selling off Indian people’s lives and safety for nuclear profits. We have not forgotten the criminal record of Union Carbide, now Dow Chemicals, in the Bhopal gas tragedy and the shameless episode of Indian politicians letting the culprits go scot-free: both physically and in terms of adequate liability for the horrendous disaster."
Pointing out that the Indian government is "risking citizens' lives even as the crisis in Fukushima has further deepened over last few weeks", the letter says, "While Japan has been forced to switch off all its reactors and countries like Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, etc. have decided to go nuclear free, it is unfortunate that Indian government is choosing to miss the historic opportunity to go for sustainable, renewable, decentralised and equitable forms of energy and shun nuclear power which contributes less than three per cent of its electricity production".
Declaring "strong protest" against any further dilution of the Nuclear Liability Act and endangering the lives of common people of India, the letter says. Villagers from Mithi Virdi, Jaspara, Khadarpar, Mandva, Paniyali, Sosiya, Kantala, Chayya, Navagam (nana), Bhankal, Goriyali, Bhavinapara, Kukkad, Lakhanka, Morchand, Odarka, Garibpura, Thalsar, Khadsaliya, Alang, Manar (CT), Bhadbhadiya, Hathab, Gundi, Badi, Alapar, Sanodar, Padva, Vavdi, Sankhadasar, Rajpara, Trapaj, Kathava, Bapada, Sathara, Bharapara, Koliyak, Mathavda, Juna Ratanpar, Kuda, Bhumbhali, Thordi etc. signed the memorandum and sent it to the PM via the Bhavnagar district collector.
The letter was handed over by Shaktisinh Gohil -Sarpanch Jaspara village, Samjuben Dabhi - Sarpanch Mithivirdi village, Vilasba Gohil - Sarpanch Mandva village, Pruthvirajsinh Gohil - Sarpanch Khadarpar village, Bhagwatsinh Gohil, - Sarpanch Sonsiya village, Dayalbhai Jambucha - Sarpanch Paniyali village, and Jikuben Dihora - Sarpanch Chayya village.
281 farmers and farm workers who would be directly affected by losing land and livelihood have expressed their dissent on oath by submitting affidavits.
The affidavit says "In this area, following a nuclear deal Indian government, the US government and US-based Westinghouse Company, the NPCIL proposes to set up a nuclear power plant. I strongly protest the land acquisition of my farm land mentioned above", it says, adding, "I solemnly affirm that I refuse to sell my above mentioned land at any price to the Government of Gujarat, Government of India or NPCIL”. A similar affidavit has been signed by those working labourers in the farms associated with the villages, saying these farmlands are their only source of livelihood.
Village Panchayat’ meeting turns Mithi Virdi-Jaspara area into Nuclear Free Zone:
On 9 March 2014 the gram panchayats of five villages have passed a resolution declaring the entire “Mithi Virdi-Jaspara region as Nuclear Free Zone.” The resolution to declare the region Nuclear Free Zone was passed “unanimously”, and a copy of the resolution was sent to President of India Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, the then Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh, the then Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, and secretary-general, United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
The resolution clearly states “Orchards of mangoes, chikoos, coconut trees, lush greenery, sea and ships passing by, describe aptly the Mithivirdi-Jaspara area in the Talaja block of Bhavnagar district. This lush green area is the irrigated region of Shetrunji dam. At a time when Special Investment Region has become the most lobbied term in the state of Gujarat, this region too should be announced as SAR (special agricultural region) for agricultural purpose.”
The resolution added, “Situated on the Saurashtra sea coast, one would assume that the land is barren and un-inhabited, but a visit here belies all these assumptions. It is perhaps from this mistaken presumption that the proposal for a 6000 MW nuclear power plant spread over 777 hectares on this green lush land must have taken place.”
The statement further said, “Presently on this 777 hectare of land spread in Jaspara, Mithivirdi, Khadarpar, and Mandva stand 50,000 fruit trees. Also, bajra, cotton, groundnut, onions and other crops are sown year round due to irrigation facilities. This area is therefore aptly called Bhavnagar's vegetable basket -- a reason, why local villagers who stand to lose not only their land and livelihood but also a potential environmental risk if the nuclear power plant were to come up here.”
The resolution suggests “people’s desire to keep the neighbourhood nuclear power free.” The resolution is significant, in view of the fact that the environmental public hearing of the proposed nuclear plant ran into controversy, as it was held on the basis of an illegal, incomplete environmental impact assessment study by an unaccredited agency, inviting strong protests from the local community.
Important salient points of the resolution are:
- The production of nuclear weapons or of nuclear power shall not be allowed in the city/ village/ municipality. No facility, equipment, components, supplies or substance used for the production of nuclear weapons or nuclear power shall be allowed in the city/ village/ municipality.
- No person, corporation, university, laboratory, institution or other entity in the city/village/municipality knowingly and intentionally engaged in the production of nuclear weapons or with respect to nuclear electricity generation shall commence any such work within the city/ village/ municipality after adoption of this chapter.
- Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit or regulate the research and application of nuclear medicine or the use of fissionable materials for smoke detectors, light-emitting watches and clocks and other applications where the purpose is unrelated to the production of nuclear weapons or nuclear power.
- Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to infringe upon the rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
The statement concludes, “We are opposed to all aspects and parts of the so-called nuclear fuel cycle and expressly forbids the production of nuclear energy, the presence of any equipment and materials related to the carrying out of any part of the fuel cycle and opposes any storage of nuclear waste.”
One more resolution: We will do all that is possible to save and protect the land, agriculture, agricultural products and seeds.
The protesters feared that recent efforts of Modi Government to water down the new Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 might only aggravate the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd’s move to acquire land near Mithi Virdi.
In a meeting on 14 August 2014, the villagers gathered to take a pledge that they wished to “ensure clean air, potable water, fertile lands, nutritious, uncontaminated food and secure life for the future generations”, adding, they will do “all that is possible to save and protect the land, agriculture, agricultural products and seeds.”
The pledge said, “We today on August 14, 2014 take the pledge,
To ensure clean air, potable water, fertile lands, nutritious, uncontaminated food and secure life for the future generations.
We will do all that is possible to save and protect the land, agriculture, agricultural products and seeds.
We will stop all industries and nuclear power plants that pose risk to our food, health and environment.
We will protest against the genetically modified crops and the resulting contamination of the natural seeds through them.
We will continue our consistent struggle against the so-called development policy that contaminate agriculture, land and water while seeking GDP growth.
We will strive to save the society from all companies - national and multinationals that seeks profits at any cost.
We will strive to ensure the deserving amendments to The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. We register our opposition and resolve to fight against the present government's move to dilute this act to make it anti-farmer to ensure pro industrial growth.”