Prevent This Nuclear Madness at Delhi’s Doorstep

An Open Invitation to All Groups / Individuals Opposed to the Insane Nuclearisation of India :

March 11th would mark the third year of the ongoing nuclear accident in Fukushima. While Fukushima has exposed the inability before a nuclear accident, India is embarking on a massive nuclear expansion ignoring all safety concerns and grassroots protests. Please Come, Join and Contribute to — a 3-day protest-cum-mobilization Yatra (March 09-11) Against the Proposed 2800 MW Nuclear Power Plant at Gorakhpur village (~150 KMs from Delhi straight-line distance), Fatehabad District, Haryana.
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Background — As some of you might already know, NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd) – a Govt of India company, is going ahead with the proposal of setting up a huge nuclear power plant in Gorakhpur Village of Fatehabad district in Haryana. The 1st phase of the NPP proposes to set-up two PHWRs (Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors) of 700 MW each, followed by another two in the second phase. India do not have such a large plant as of now, though there are plans to establish even much bigger ones elsewhere in the country.

Recently, the nuclear-obsessed Prime Minister of India, went to the site to ceremonially start work. The land acquisition process – after a more-than-two-year-long “dharna” by local farmers – have almost been completed. About 1500 Acres of fertile farmland has already been acquired for the plant and its township. In spite of many objections raised and violations being pointed out, the Environmental Public Hearing was completed last year (2013). The ruling Congress Govt is cooperating fully with this proposal, even going to the extent of proposing another such NPP in Bhiwani district !

Water Issue
– Apart from the many known dangers – both from accidents and from routine operation – of fission-based nuclear power plants, this Gorakhpur NPP will be using a very large amount of water for essential cooling of the reactors. Gorakhpur or even Fatehabad district has no perennial rivers, no big lakes. Only an irrigation canal from the Bhakra Beas system supplies water to the entire belt. The ground water in the area is brackish and unfit for good farming, but this canal water (limited by the water sharing treaty between some northern & western states) has made the area a prosperous farming area making three crops a year possible. The Haryana govt has assured NPCIL that 320 CuSecs of this precious water, critical for agriculture in the entire area – will be given to this nuclear power plant, leaving farmers in danger of losing their livelihoods. Also please recollect that, most major nuclear accidents (including Chernobyl & Fukushima) happened due to coolant failures, and this branch canal has also faced breaches repeatedly in the past. What a nightmarish prospect !

Rich Wild-life – This area might be the most bio-diverse wild-life zone in Haryana, as a large variety of birds, blackbucks, nilgais and other small animals roam around freely in and around villages and farmlands. The large Bishnoi community in the area is one major factor in ensuring such protection and abundance of wildlife. The sweet water from the Bhakra branch canal also makes this area very fertile, and thus attractive to a variety of wild life. As the barbed-wire fencing of the Gorakhpur NPP came up, there were several instances of Blackbuck & other animal’s death from this.

Dense Population Around Exposed to Radiation & Danger
– The site for the NPP sits amidst densely populated villages. The Gorakhpur village itself shows a population of about 13,000 in 2011 Census, while a large number of farm labour also reside there but are unaccounted in Census. This itself violates the Siting Guidelines of the AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) that no habitation with 10,000 or more people should be there in the sterilized zone, ie, within 5 KMs from the reactor(s). Other nearby villages also are densely populated. The town of Fatehabad also shelters over 60,000 people, and falls within the 16 KMs Emergency Planning Zone, along with many populated villages. Thus, in case of any accident, a large number of people will be immediately exposed to grave radiation dangers, without the necessary mechanisms for fast and systematic evacuation. Even the routine operation of NPPs emits radioactive materials, which poses dangers to the nearby populations. And in case of accidents, even Delhi or the high population density Haryana towns in between – will be in line for strong radiation exposure, as shown in Tokyo getting contaminated from the Fukushima disaster. All these poses unacceptably high risks to a large population.

Farmers in GorakhpurThe Resistance
— In the last three years, many of us (some of you included) have campaigned against this, in many villages & towns of Haryana, as well as in Delhi. The awareness level in the surrounding villages have been raised, but the collapse of the farmer’s ‘dharna’ discouraged some of them from taking more active part in the protest. But that is changing now, and more people are realizing that the danger from this is something they cannot even hope to handle. Several groups in Haryana & Delhi, and other activists from far off places, have gone to the area and tried rejuvenating the resistance. A number of groups in Haryana have come together under the banner of “Haryana Parmanu Sanyantra Virodhi Morcha”. Several political parties have come to our campaign meetings and also organized metings against this proposal. Parties who pledged support to the resistance are Haryana Janhit Congress, Indian National Lok Dal, CPI-ML (Redstar), CPI-ML (Liberation) and others. CPI and their friends are considering support. There have been work in the direction of challenging this in the courts too – and both the NGT and Haryana HC is being pursued.

The Programme — With that objective, the collective in Haryana – Haryana Parmanu Sanyantra Virodhi Morcha – has proposed a 3-day Yatra programme in Haryana, supported by people and groups from all over India. This is being planned for March 09-11, starting from Rohtak and ending in Fatehabad / Sirsa. There will be several large public meetings in towns and bigger villages. A consistent campaign is expected to be generated out of this 3-day Yatra programme. There will be lectures, street plays, anti-nuk film-shows, poster & flyers, songs & cultural performances – all with the same core messages.

WE APPEAL TO ALL OF YOU TO PLEASE COME FOR & JOIN IN THIS MISSION, CONTRIBUTE WHAT EVER YOU CAN TOWARDS THE COSTS ETC, AND MOBILIZE PEOPLE AND RESOURCES THROUGH YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY & CONTACTS.

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Delhi Solidarity Group – [email protected], 011-26680883, 09990279220
Contact phones : Sundaram – 09810556134

Anti-Nulcear Yatra March 11