IDPD-FBThe rediff.com last month published an article written by Dr. K S Parthasarathy, the former chief of AERB, maligning the Indian Doctors’ for Peace and Development (IDPD), which has been raising the issues of public health and radiation in India. Specifically, IDPD has highlighted the impacts of radiation around India’s uranium mine in Jadugoda and the nuclear establishment’s callous and insensitive approach.

When Dr. Arun Mitra, the General Secretary of IDPD wrote back to rediff.com and repeatedly urged its Editor to publish a rejoinder that he emailed to them, he didn’t get a proper reply. Independent experts have repeatedly pointed out how toothless and complacent the existing nuclear regulator in India is, and a bill about a new regulatory body is under discussion in the parliament. Rediff.com publishing the former AERB Chief’s raising malicious allegations on the IDPD and then not publishing a rejoinder is condemnable.

Below is Dr. Mitra’s rejoinder to the nuclear industry’s propaganda that we are publishing.

 – Editor, DiaNuke.org

DOCTORS DUTY BOUND TO PROMOTE HEALTH OF PEOPLE LIVING AROUND JADUGODA URANIUM MINES AND TO MAKE THE PUBLIC AWARE OF THE HAZARDS OF URANIUM MINING

I was amused as well as saddened to read the article by Dr K S Parthasarathy, former secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board which I came across recently in the www.rediff.com as a commentary on our study on Health Status of People Living Around Jadugoda Uranium Mines. Since many misgivings have been reported by the author in his article, it is my duty as the General Secretary of the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) to clarify the stand of our organization. I was amused because the study was conducted nearly eight years back, but how come there is renewed interest in this now?  Is it that the new BJP government at the centre is even more vociferous than the previous one about the atomic energy and is singing loud on the tunes of the international atomic energy lobby; many people in our country are out to please their new masters!

IDPD is an organization of the medical professionals concerned about the health status of the people in our country. Ironically our country is one among those with poorest health indicators in the world. Our spending on health is as low as Sierra Leone and Haiti. Unfortunately the government has further cut the health budget by 20% recently. It is our duty to study different aspects of health status and create awareness about the health scenario in the country and based on these to demand changes in the government policies so as to meet the goal of health to all. Therefore we have performed our medical duty by carrying out this epidemiological study.

There is a strong voice being raised throughout the world against the nuclear weapons and the raw material used in their production. Uranium is the most important component in this process. Uranium mines throughout the world have created serious health hazards to the people living in their vicinity. Ours is an independent study but the findings are similar to other studies conducted earlier. As medical professionals we demand changes in the government policy towards the people living around uranium mines who should be given special attention at every step.

Apathetic attitude of the managements and the officials towards the workers in different industries particularly the hazardous industries in our country is not hidden from any one. Similar is true for Jadugoda Uranium mines. This is evident from the tailings (waste material from mining) lying here and there. Moreover I have not come across any regular annual epidemiological study of the health of people living in that area, which the government is duty bound to conduct medically, ethically and morally.

When the governments and the managements show little concern, it is the duty of the medical fraternity to stand with the oppressed people and to raise voice for their betterment. Such voice for a public cause need not be limited to medical journals. Our study is based on statistically significant P value and is not a cherry picking as blamed by Dr Parthasarty. We have repeatedly asked the government to carry out epidemiological study around Jadugoda Uranium mines by some independent credible organization without any duress. I request Dr Parthasarthy to join us in this demand.

I am sure Dr Parthasarthy is a strong protagonist of the globalization and supports the foreign direct investments in our country even in the defense sector. Why then is he so much upset on foreign funding to carry out scientific health study?  He must speak up against millions of dollars being flooded for several unscrupulous activities in our country.

It will be naive to think that Dr Parthasarthy is not well versed with the fact that the developed countries which have used the nuclear energy for electricity generation earlier are now phasing it out and shifting to renewable energy resources. They are dumping this failed technology in our country.  The worldwide opinion against uranium mining is growing. This worries the uranium lobby and they put forward the opinions in their favour through media using interested journalists and some of the so called scientists. I am saddened that Dr Parthasarthy has not written a word in his article showing empathy towards the poor ailing people in Jadugoda.

Dr Arun Mitra
General Secretary
Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD)
139-E, Kitchlu Nagar, Ludhiana – 141001 (PUNJAB)
Mobile: 094170 00360