“Not here, not anywhere; not in any country in the world” – with these slogans the people (farmers and other villagers) affected by the proposed 6000 MW nuclear power plant at village Mithi Virdi in Bhavnagar, Gujarat took out a massive rally to meet the Collector, Bhavnagar culminating in a public meeting and presented a memorandum to him. They also put a challenge to the Prime Minister on the eve of his departure for the USA
Please see below the memorandum submitted on the occasion to the Prime Minister of India.
MEMORANDUM TO PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA
Subject: Affidavits of affected farmers/villagers regarding proposed 6000 MW Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant.
Dear Shri Manmohan Singhji,
We understand that you are soon to leave for the United States. We take this opportunity to bring to your notice some of our serious concerns relating to the agreements / contracts, MOUs you may sign during the course of your negotiations with the US Government and various other Corporations, agencies etc.
According to media reports the Government of India is reported to have initiated moves to further dilute the Nuclear Liability Act to seal the nuclear deal with the US government. We are told that the Government of India wrote to the Cabinet Committee on Security seeking to override nuclear liability for Westinghouse to seal a nuclear agreement with the US corporations during your visit to Washington, undermining all democratic and sovereign institutions of India. The Government of India is yet to make its position clear on these media reports, which further worries us.
The dilution of the Nuclear Liability Act is being touted as a “gift” to the US Government and international nuclear corporations. 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 (NPCIL) will not use its ‘right of recourse’ against suppliers of defective equipments is a shameless sell out of Indian peoples’ lives. Earlier, the government tried to placate the nuclear corporations by diluting the Act by framing rules that go against the spirit of the Constitution of India.
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 Chemical in the Bhopal gas tragedy and the shameless episode of Indian politicians letting the culprits go Scott-free: both physically and in terms of adequate liability for the horrendous disaster.
The Indian government is risking citizen’s lives even as the crisis in Fukushima has further deepened over last few weeks exemplifies its callousness and the narrow elite interests that it represents. 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 3% of its electricity production. We register our strong protest against any further dilution of the Nuclear Liability Act and endangering the lives of common people of India.
To register our strong protest we the affected people of 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. submit this memorandum through the collector of Bhavnagar.
We hereby submit to you 281 affidavits with the memorandum. The affidavits are originally in Gujarati.
One set of notarised affidavits (translated from Gujarati) states: “I, resident of …, Block …, District …, aged …, hereby solemnly swear on my faith that 1. I, reside at the above mentioned address with …, my family members and own … hectares … sq metres of agricultural land with …, survey number …, registered in …, village. 2. This inherited agricultural land is the only source of livelihood for me and my family, I know no other occupation. 3. In this area, following a nuclear deal between Indian government, the US government & US based Westinghouse Company; NPCIL proposes to set up a nuclear power plant. I strongly protest the land acquisition of my farm land mentioned above. 4. 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”.
Another set of notarised affidavits translated read: “I, resident of …, Block …, District …, aged …, hereby solemnly swear on my faith that 1. I, reside at the above mentioned address with …, my family members staying in … village. 2. I and my family are dependent on working as labourers in this villages farms and the village wetland for our livelihood. 3. In this area, following a nuclear deal between Indian government and US based Westinghouse Company; NPCIL proposes to set up a nuclear power plant. I strongly protest the land acquisition of the village wasteland, fallow and pastoral land for this project. 4. I solemnly affirm that I protest the acquisition of the village wasteland, fallow and pastoral land for this project by the Government of Gujarat, Government of India or NPCIL”.
May we also remind you that our letters dated 29 March 2013 and 8 August 2013 to the concerned authorities including you reiterated in detail our objections to the proposed nuclear plant. We are still awaiting your responses to these letters.
Representatives of affected area by proposed Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant
Shaktisinh Gohil – Sarpanch, Jaspara
Samjuben Dabhi – Sarpacnh, Mithivirdi
Vilasba Gohil – Sarpanch, Mandva
Pruthvirajsinh Gohil – Sarpanch, Khadarpar
Bhagwatsinh Gohil – Sarpanch, Sonsiya
Dayalbhai Jambucha – Sarpanch, Paniyali
Jikuben Dihora – Sarpanch, Chayya