S.O.S – eVoice For Justice – e-news weekly
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Editorial : JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN INDIA
– URGENT NEED OF THE HOUR
After 62 years of india’s independence the lives of commoners is far worse than under britishers. The benefits of independence has reached only few , thus creating islands of few ultra rich people surrounded by vast sea of utterly poor. The rich people in nexus with those in power , are getting favourable laws enacted to suit their ends. Those in power are shamelessly enjoying 5-star luxuries all at tax payer’s expense , while more then 50 million are starving to death.
The criminalization of politics , executive & judiciary is almost complete. The corruption has spread it’s tentacles far & wide , there is corruption from womb to tomb ,from maternity hospital to grave yard. The injustices meated out , the atrocities perpetrated by by public servants are worse than britishers.
Ideally in a democracy, the legal recourse of grievance redressal / justice , when a commoner suffers injustice he can appeal to respective government official or police for justice , still if doesn’t get justice he can appeal to court of law , further the aggrieved can get the appropriate law enacted through his M.P / M.L.A. The sad part in India is no public servant is neither aware of the value of our hard won independence or the working of democracy.
When all the legal recourses to justice fail to respond , to provide justice to the aggrieved , when corrupt judges-police-politician-public servants act as a criminal nexus & block justice delivery, the commoner has only 2 options , either to suffer in silence or to take law into his own hands & get justice on his own.
Take for instance Bombay riots case several VVIPs ï¿½ cabinet ministers , police were found to be guilty of torture , murders of innocents by justice sri Krishna enquiry commission. The government is sitting over enquiry commission report. The court is not taking suo-motto action in public interests a result , the guilty ministers & police who are fit cases for death sentences are roaming free & commiting more crimes , anti-national activities.
In some cases , involving the rich &mighty ,higher police officials , the cover-up begins right from start ie FIR Registration. Police conduct name sake enquiry , investigation, suppress evidences , witnesses , destroy some of them , the prosecution takes a favourable stand putting up weak arguments. Naturally, the guilty official , minister is acquitted by court for lack of evidences. So, the guilty who should have been rightfully put behind bars , hanged goes scot-free , to commit more crimes , more anti-national activities.
In such cases , if the suffering public give the legal punishment to the guilty , which should have been given by the court but failed. Are not such acts of public, to uphold law & dignity , national security right & patriotic ? if any body terms it as crime , that means guilty VVIPs , police , public servants should be left unpunished allowing them to commit more crimes , anti-national activities. Is that right from national security angle ? is it equality before law & equitable justice ?
READ FULL ARTICLE AT : http://sites.google.com/site/sosevoiceforjustice/accountability-of-indian-judges
Do remember that our freedom fighters ,martyrs ,sri.kudiram bose ,subhash Chandra bose , bhagath singh , veer savarkar others who took violent path of independence struggle & killed inhuman british officers, police & judges have contributed valuably ,immensely to our freedom struggle. One of the main causes of origin of naxalism ,separatist movements is the rampant corruption & unaccountability of public servants in India.
In this back drop , in India anarchy is not far away. The days of suffering public ,killing their tormentors corrupt police , corrupt judges , corrupt tax officials ,etc is not far away. No police security , no SPG cover can protect those corrupt , as police & SPG personnel work for pay , perks and will be on the wrong side of law ï¿½ protecting criminals. The suffering public fighting for their survival , on the right side of natural justice , protecting the nation.
If the authorities term this act as illegal , crime then are the acts of corrupt public servants legal ? is the cover-up of such corrupt acts by police , vigilance officials & some judges by mis quoting /misinterpreting , misusing law is right , legal ? the GOI has created , funded , supported , given training , arms & ammunition to various terrorist outfits like LTTE , MUKTHI BAHINI ,MQM in foreign countries , resulting in destruction , mass murders of innocents there . In india itself in assam , Kashmir , the GOI has created counter terrorist outfits to reduce the reach of terrorist groups. The bihar , jharkhand , chattisgarh state governments have created armed gangs SALWA JUDUM to counter naxal outfits , are all these acts of government right , legal ? the days of dogs death for corrupt is quite nearby. it is high time , to the corrupt to reform , repent themselves.
In our own experience, e-voice didn’t get justice from authorities in many cases of injustices brought before it , most shameful fact even supreme court of India failed to register PILs , even shameful supreme court of India even failed to give information as per RTI Act , utterly shameful supreme court of India failed to protect the fundamental rights of editor of e-voice & obstructed him from performing his fundamental duties. Still, e-voice believes in peace , democratic practices. E-voice firmly believes that violence should not be practiced by anybody ï¿½ neither state nor public.
Hereby, e-voice urges the corrupt public servants to mend their ways , to uphold law & dignity of democratic institutions. Atrocities , violence , corruption breeds more violence , invites dog’s death. Peace ,truth , honesty is the harbinger of prosperous democratic nation. Greetings to all my Indian brothers & sisters on the occasion of 61st independence day celebrations, let us build a true democratic India , free of corrupt public servants. JAI HIND. VANDE MATARAM.
END 25 YEARS OF INJUSTICE TO PEOPLE OF BHOPAL
Shortly before midnight on 2 December 1984, thousands of tonnes of deadly chemicals leaked from Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal, central India. Around half a million people were exposed. Between 7,000 and 10,000 people died in the immediate aftermath and a further 15,000 over the next 20 years.
Nearly 25 years later, the factory site has not been cleaned up. More than 100,000 people continue to suffer from ongoing health problems. Efforts to provide rehabilitation – both medical care and measures to address the socio-economic effects of the leak – have fallen way short of what is needed.
Many of those affected are still waiting for adequate compensation and the full facts of the leak and its impact have never been properly investigated. No one has ever been held to account for what happened at Bhopal and efforts by survivors’ organizations to use the Indian and US court systems to see justice done and gain adequate redress have so far been unsuccessful.
Bhopal is not just a human rights tragedy from the last century – it is a human rights travesty today. The legacy of Bhopal persists because the people of Bhopal have never been able to claim their rights. Moreover, the negative impacts of the leak are affecting new generations. Studies have shown how the exposure to the toxic gas causes long-term effects, which can continue in children born in gas-exposed families.
For 25 years the Indian government has failed the people of Bhopal. Promises have been repeatedly broken and no adequate action has ever been taken to address the impacts of the gas leak.
No company can be allowed to evade responsibility for the impacts of its operations. Union Carbide must be held to account for what happened at Bhopal. Dow Chemicals, which now owns Union Carbide, must cooperate fully with the Indian government and the courts in India to ensure justice is done and the site is fully cleaned up.
BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY 1984 -Bhopal, India
At the first instance the Government of India failed to ensure that Union carbide India Limited (U.C.I.L) has installed proper safety measures and fully implemented it in practice, at it’s plant in Bhopal. The Government of Madhyapradesh through it’s labour
department, factory inspectorate & pollution control board failed to enforce safety practices & environmental protection. In turn, the U.C.I.L didn’t install in full, the safety measures being followed by it’s parent company union carbide corporation (U.C.C) at it’s
Various plants in the U.S.A. The U.C.I.L. didn’t give community training to residents of nearby localities, to cope up with emergencies ie. Industrial accidents. U.C.I.L gave a go – by to safety practices, as it treated Indian lives as cheap. The government of Madhya pradesh instead of shifting slum dwellers around U.C.I.L, to other safe place, gave them legal title deeds just months before the tragedy in 1984.
Now, refer the following:-
1. After the accident at it’s U.C.I.L. plant at Bhopal, India in 1984, when the U.C.C. Chairman/C.E.O. came over to Bhopal from U.S.A to visit the accident site, local police arrested him on the charges of manslaughter. However, the Government of India got him released.
2. In 1985, Government of India enacted “Bhopal claims Act” took- away the right of appeal of all the Gas tragedy victims & declared itself as the sole representative of all victims. This said act itself is violative of victim’s fundamental & human rights. The
victims didn’t choose Government of India as it’s representative under will, agreement, trust or pleasure.
3. The paradox of this “Bhopal claims Act” is that, Government of India which is also a party to the crime, tragedy, itself is the appellant. The appellant (Petitioner),defendant are Government of India, Prosecution by Government of India & Judged by Government of
4. In 1989, when an appeal about interim compensation to be paid by the U.C.I.L to all the victims was being heard in the apex court, the supreme court of India without giving a chance to the victims to make their point, without consulting them, without making a proper assessment of damages/losses, gave an arbitrary figure as verdict & dropped all civil, criminal proceedings against U.C.C.&U.C.I.L
5. In the same year 1989, the Government of India without consulting the victims of disaster, without making proper assessment of damages/ losses, negotiated a settlement with the U.C.C. and in turn gave full legal immunity to U.C.C.& U.C.I.L from civil &
6. Even the Government of India didn’t present the case of victim’s-gas tragedy victims, properly before the U.S.courts, where the U.C.C is based. All these premeditated acts only benefited the criminals- U.C.C&UCIL. Are not the supreme court of India & Government of India, here to safeguard Indians and to safeguard Justice?
After all these crimes, the Government of India failed to distribute compensation in time to victims. It has failed even to provide safe drinking water to the residents near the accident site, It has failed to provide comprehensive medical care to the victims, till
date . It has even failed to get the accident site cleared off toxic wastes either by the culprit management or by it self, that too after 20 years. The very presence of these toxic wastes since 20 years is further contaminating, polluting the environment and taking toll of more victims.
Particularly in the case of “Bhopal Gas Tragedy” the supreme court of India & Government of India are deadlier criminals than U.C.I.L&U.C.C.
Just consider a case here, Just a few years back an U.S.based M.N.C ENRON set-up a power project in Maharashtra, India through it’s subsidiary. When Maharashtra state Electricity Board failed to lift power from Enron& pay them monthly guaranteed revenue, Enron threatened to invoke, open the “Eschrew Clause” with the Government
of India & to approach international arbiter U.K. Government of India has stood as conter-guarantee in this case. Finally the Government paid, of course subsequently the parent ENRON collapsed due to other reasons. If in this case if Government of India failed to pay-up as a counter guarantee & refused to comply with the award of International arbiter, definitely Government of U.S.A. would have stepped into the scene to protect it’s MNC. Hypothetically, In the same vein if Enron has caused damages to Indians either through negligence of safe practices or industrial accidents or bank frauds
amounting over and above it’s Capital base & insurance cover, then it would have been the duty of parent Enron & Government of U.S.A. to step in & pay-up.
In the same way, the U.C.I.L has caused massive damages to Indians & refusing to pay commensurate to damages. Dow chemicals which took- over U.C.C. is also refusing to pay. DOW chemicals which is the new owner of U.C.C. naturally inherits both profits, credits lent & liabilities to pay of U.C.C. Still it is refusing to pay. Now it is the turn of Government of U.S.A. to cough-up the sum.
Nowadays, it has become routine for central & State ministers to go- on foreign jaunts, to globe -trott inviting F.D.I/ M.N.Cs to India. They do sign numerous agreements, only favouring MNC. When tragedies occur or when they cheat Indian banks/ investors, it is Indians who suffer. The ministers & bureaucrats thinks themselves as wizards and enters into agreements with MNCs, industrialists in a hush-hush manner, with vast scope for possible corruption. Is it not the duty of government to be transparent ?
An appeal to honourable supreme court of USA & HE Honourable president of USA Mr.Obama
Your government protects all Americans, all American companies both inside America & abroad. If an American tourist is murdered in a third country , American investigators fly over to that country to conduct investigation in total disregard to local laws. In the same way , if the interests of an American company is threatened in a third country American government goes to it’s rescue.
However , when an American company butchers , causes mass man slaughter in a third country , as an American company did in Bhopal India , no action by American government. Still the said American company has not removed , cleared the accident site of poisonous debris at Bhopal India since decades and still causing mass man slaughter , no action by American government why ?
Some US based companies are selling soft drinks , food products , medicines , drugs in third world countries , which are causing grave health damages to the public. The quality standards of these products are fit cases of rejections by US FDA. Some US companies are selling drugs ( which are banned in the USA ) to third world countries , still us companies are exporting such dangerous medicines , foods to third countries . no action by US government , why ? is it because you think that the lives of non Americans are cheaper than Americans ?
Hereby, I do request your kindself ,
1 . to initiate criminal prosecution against US based key management personnel responsible for Bhopal gas tragedy .
2 . to make either the respective company management or US government to pay compensation to victims of Bhopal gas tragedy on par with American lives , as if the same tragedy happened in the USA itself.
3 . to order the management of the said company to clean up Bhopal off poisonous debris , from the accident site at their own expense.
4 . To legally prosecute US exporters & US based companies selling products ( which violates US FDA regulations or banned in the USA for domestic consumption ) to third countries.
CALL ON US PRESIDENT & US CONGRESS
Dear President Obama and members of Congress,
I welcome President Obama’s executive orders to close Guantanamo and end the use of torture. Further, I welcome the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate a number of cases of detainee abuse as a positive steps toward accountability. However, I am deeply concerned that human rights violations—and impunity for human rights violations–continue. This in spite of the fact that human rights violations are immoral, illegal and—according to military and intelligence experts—ineffective and counterproductive.
There is an alternative. I am writing to urge you to respect human rights, follow the law and counter terror with justice:
– Ensure accountability for torture and abuse, as required by law. Set up or support an independent commission of inquiry to investigate torture and other human rights violations committed by the U.S. government in the name of countering terrorism; ensure that all those who broke the law are prosecuted; and ensure redress and remedy to victims;
– Reject indefinite detention and unfair military commissions. Guantanamo detainees must either be charged with a crime and fairly tried in U.S. federal court, without recourse to the death penalty, or be released, to countries where their human rights will be respected;
– Bring U.S. detentions at Bagram and other U.S. facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq into compliance with international law and human rights standards;
– Close all possible loopholes for torture and other ill-treatment, and end any use of rendition and secret detention by or on behalf of the U.S. authorities anywhere.
The U.S. government is required by law to respect human rights and to ensure accountability for human rights violations. I call on you to follow the law.
Address the root causes that breed insurgency
PUCL Press statement on ongoing fight between state and Maoists
— By Pushkar Raj General Secretary, PUCL
9 October 2009
PUCL strongly condemns the brutal killing of the police officer by the alleged naxalites in Jharkhand. It is an unacceptable act of gravest human rights violation by the people who claim to work for the down trodden and poor. It is a long standing firm belief of PUCL that violence in any form can never be a means to achieve any end howsoever grand that might be. There is no place for such mindless violence in a democratic state and society that India is.
PUCL watches with pain the fight between security forces and Maoists in some parts of Chattisgarh. While it is a clear case of war against one’s own people by the state, Maoists too with adoption of violent means of struggle has undermined the liberal and democratic spirit of the Indian Constitution. While innocent civilian are losing lives, the ongoing mindless fight between the two parties is a clear case of impasse in which there is and will be no winner.
PUCL believes that the Indian state must address the root causes of the social and economic conditions that breed insurgency like situation where in a group of people is compelled to take arms against the state. Clearly this kind of insurgency breeds because of violation of basic human rights of the people. The mindless vested class centric development and consequent displacement and impoverishment of tribals must stop. The tribals must get adequate opportunities for means livelihood, education and health. On the other hand the Maoist must desist from using violent means of struggle that causes severe misery and deaths of the tribals on whose name they unleash the violence in turn harming the hapless innocent people. One must bear in mind that in a democratic country the ends achieved through the violence means are neither desirable nor lasting. The only way for a harmonious solution of the present deadlock is negotiations between the two parties. The Indian government must reverse its stand of crushing Maoist through military means and must engage them in a dialogue.
Now that Indian state has captured one of the senior ideologue of the insurgent groups, PUCL appeals to the government of India that channels of negations between the two parties must be explored and an honourable solution to the ongoing violent struggle be sought to the mutual satisfaction of the both parties. Maoist must also come forward and negotiate with the government for legitimate rights of the downtrodden people for whom they supposedly are fighting.
Uranium Corporation of India Limited: Wasting Away Tribal Lands
by Moushumi Basu, Special to CorpWatch
October 7th, 2009
Creative Commons Licensed: Adapted by Ionia Kershaw for Truthout.org (via Flickr)
“I have had three miscarriages and lost five children within a week of their births,” says Hira Hansda, a miner’s wife. “Even after 20 years of marriage we have no children today.” Now in her late forties, she sits outside her mud hut in Jadugoda Township, site of one of the oldest uranium mines in India.
The Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) operates that mine, part of a cluster of four underground and one open cast mines and two processing plants, in East Singbhum district in the Eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. The deepest plunges almost one kilometer into the earth.
Incorporated as a public sector enterprise under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in 1967, UCIL has sole responsibility for mining and processing all of India’s uranium. And since the strength of the Jadugoda region’s uraninite ore is extremely low, it takes many tons of earth as well as complex metallurgical processes to yield even a small amount of useable uranium ore—along with tons of radioactive waste, disposed of in unlined tailing dams.
UCIL processes the ore into yellowcake and sends it to the Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad, where it is officially designated for use in nuclear reactors. But it is an open secret that some of the nuclear material becomes the key ingredient in India’s nuclear arsenal. (India is one of only three states—along with Israel and Pakistan—that are not signatories to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. North Korea withdrew from the Treaty in 2003.)
Radiation and health experts across the world charge that toxic materials and radioactivity released by the mining and processing operations are causing widespread infertility, birth defects and cancers. A 2008 health survey by the Indian chapter of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), found that “primary sterility was found to be more common in the people residing near uranium mining operations area.”
Jadugoda residents Kaderam Tudu and his wife, Munia, considered themselves fortunate when their infant was born alive, until, “I found that my baby son did not have his right ear and instead in its place was a blob of flesh,” says Tudu, a day worker in his late thirties. Their son, Shyam Tudu, now eight, has a severe hearing impairment.
Even children who appear healthy are impacted. “The youths from our villages have become victims of social ostracism,” says Parvati Manjhi, and cannot find spouses. “And a number of our girls have been abandoned by their husbands, when they failed to give birth,” Now middle-aged, Parvati and her husband, Dhuwa Manjhi, who used to work for UCIL, are childless.
Harrowing tales fill the region around the mines, and add irony to the area’s name, Jharkhand, which in the local tribal language means “forest endowed with nature’s bounties.” If the lush land was the indigenous population’s boon for centuries, its rich mineral reserves have become their bane. Six decades of industrialization has depleted the forest cover, degraded the environment, displaced tribal peoples—who along with Dalit (“untouchables”) form an oppressed underclass—and devastated a way of life deeply interwoven with nature.
Despite India’s economic boom and proximity to one of the country’s richest mineral reserves, the villages in Jharkhand are now among the poorest in the country, according to the Center For Science & Environment’s (New Delhi) 2008 report “Rich Lands Poor People.”
Uranium Corporation of India Limited in Jharkhand
UCIL’s underground mines in Jadugoda, Bhatin, Turamdhih, Narwapahar, and its open cast mine at Banduhurang extract 1,000 tons per day (TPD) of uranium ore. Two underground mines in the pipeline at Baghjata and Mahuldih will boost that amount. The ore is processed at the Jadugoda and Turamdih mills with a combined capacity of 5,000 TDP. The company earned $64 million in 2007-08, and made a $3 million profit.
The 20-year lease for UCIL’s mines was up in 2007, and a new application is being processed. Under it, the company wants to add 6.37 hectares to tailing dam capacity and expand production, according to UCIL Chairman and Managing Director Ramendra Gupta. This move requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) drawn up by the Central Institute of Mining & Fuel Research (CIMFR), along with a public hearing.
Addressing the affected community at the May public hearing in Jadugoda, the company represented the local plans as “a marginal expansion.” But the UCIL website promises “a quantum leap in UCIL’s activities” that includes plans to “deepen the existing mines, expand its processing facilities,” and “not only opening new mines, but also the development of the community around its operations.”
While the company has created local schools and provides jobs and social services, villagers who attended the hearing argued that these provisions do not compensate for the health effects and destruction of their way of life.
“Why are we being made to pay such a heavy price, for so many decades”? Asks Hira Hansda, speaking of her three miscarriages and birth to five infants that quickly died. Her husband Sonaram worked at the tailing dam as a casual employee between 1984-87, and like many villagers, he links the deterioration in local health conditions to the arrival of the uranium mines. The last three surveys conducted in the area found increased radiation levels.
Heavy Security at UCIL’s Public Hearing Keeps Villagers Out
The public hearing on UCIL’s new application took place at the heavily fortified camp of the Central India Security Force (CISF) within the UCIL colony at Jadugoda. Conducted by the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board, the proceedings were marked by restrictions on personal liberties under sections of a law applying to situations with the potential to cause civil unrest.
Leaving little room for the public or protesters, the hall was packed with hundreds of UCIL workers and other company beneficiaries who held placards reading: “When compared to hunger, pollution is a small issue,” and “Save UCIL.”
Those who had lost their lands and health to the mines were physically barred from the tent. Outside the proceedings, protesters shouted: “Do not destroy our land,” “No uranium, no uranium waste, no weapons, care for the future.” Many indigenous villagers waved the banner of the Jharkhandi Organization Against Radiation (JOAR), winner of the Germany-based Nuclear Free Future Award for its long crusade against the hazards of uranium mining in Jadugoda. The protesters denounced the hearing as “a farce” and demanded that it be immediately stopped.
Villager and JOAR president, Ghanashyam Biruli, issued the demands: no new uranium mines, bring the existing mine under international safety guidelines, return unused tribal land, provide livelihood and rehabilitation to displaced people, clean up the contamination, commission an independent study of environmental contamination and health effects, and monitor water bodies to ensure that the radionuclides do not seep into the aquifer that is the lifeline of more than 100,000 people. The activists also argued that since the country can buy uranium on the international market, there is no compelling need to expand UCIL’s capacity.
The real compelling need, they asserted, was protecting health and the environment. The 2008 health survey by the Indian chapter of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) provided clear evidence, finding that:
* Couples living near the mines were “1.58 times more vulnerable to primary sterility” with 9.6 percent of couples in study villages unable to conceive after three years of marriage, compared with 6.27 percent in a reference (control) group.
* Birth defects followed a similar pattern with 1.84 times higher incidence: “[B]abies from mothers, who lived near uranium mining operation area, suffered a significant increase in congenital deformities,” according to the report. While 4.49 percent of mothers living in the study villages reported bearing children with congenital deformities, only 2.49 percent of mothers in reference villages fell under this category.” The national rate for people with disabilities (including congenital deformities) is 3 percent, according to official government statistics.
* Deformed babies near the mining operations are almost 6 times more likely to die, with 9.25 percent mothers in the study villages reporting congenital deformities as the cause of death of their children. In the reference village, mothers reported 1.70 percent of babies died of deformities.
* Cancer deaths were also higher: 2.87 percent of households in study villages attributed the cause of death to be cancer, compared to 1.89 percent in the reference village.
These factors contributed to a lowered life expectancy. In the study villages 68.33 percent of the population died before reaching the state’s average life expectancy: 62 years old.
UCIL Denies Contamination
Despite such alarming reports, radiation data are not made public because they fall under the purview of the Atomic Energy Act of 1962. UCIL / DAE (Department of Atomic Energy) also cites security concerns for refusing to release data on health of the workers. But Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda, a 1999 award-winning film by Shri Prakash documented that, despite a law mandating regular monitoring, in the last five- to ten-year period few workers underwent blood and urine tests to assess the impact of radiation.
Independent scientists have confirmed the danger. Professor Hiroaki Koide, from the Research Reactor Institute, Kyoto University, Japan, sampled soil and air in the surrounding villages and documented that “The circumference of tailing ponds is impacted with uranium radiation. The strength of the radiation is of 10 to 100 times high in comparison to places without contamination. …There are places where uranium concentration is high in the road or the riverside, and it is thought that tailings are used for construction material,” including on villagers’ houses.” Tailings are production waste material that, according to critics are unsafely stored, dumped, and used for landfills, roads and construction.
UCIL Technical Director D Acharya denied that the company was responsible for radiological contamination. “UCIL’s safety and pollution control measures are at par with the international standards, comparable at any point of time,” he said. The company is dealing with naturally occurring materials, he noted, the very low grade ore extracted is a minimal environmental hazard, and the company is not enriching the ore in Jadugoda.
But tacitly acknowledging the risks, UCIL head, Gupta, noted in the 2008 Annual Report that “External gamma radiation, Radon concentration, suspended particulate matters, airborne long lived Alpha activity and concentration of radio nuclides- uranium and Radium in surface and ground water, in soil and food items etc are monitored regularly.”
Although he presented no evidence, UCIL Technical Director Acharya said that allegations of health problems are canards spread by anti-uranium lobbies, and that the physical fitness of the employees can be gauged the UCIL football team’s success in winning the DAE tournaments for the past five years.
“From time to time we have also conducted structured health surveys and examinations, by independent sources,” said Acharya. “One was done by the erstwhile Bihar Assembly, about ten years ago, but the findings are absolutely normal.” (The area was part of Bihar at the time.) “The effects of radiation are being constantly monitored by independent watchdogs, and there are health physics experts who are always with us, for round-the clock-vigil of the situation. Hence, there is really no cause of concern,” he added.
That is not the experience of many villagers, who link serious health problems to the mines. Like many of the women in the surrounding areas, Hansda’s pregnancies were a time of terror. “It fills within us fear and apprehensions of the possible ordeal that may be in store. Who knows what would be the fate of the baby,” she said.
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