Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bauxite Mining against Survival of Tribals & Biodiversity of Eastern Ghats

 The Speaker of AP Legislative Assembly, Sri.Nadendla Manohar, deserves to be complimented,, for out of the mill and purposeful initiative taken by him, for organizing Three Day Orientation Programme in the Agency Area of Visakhapatnam, for the first time Legislators. The object of the programme, with the focus for Legislators to understand and acquaint with the problems confronting Tribals in the Agency Areas is laudable and very much the need of the hour. 


Root Cause of Problems


The root cause of the problems of Tribals, is lack of knowledge / awareness about their basic rights / entitlements, partly attributable to illiteracy. It is aggravated by the lack of Good Government Delivery System at Grass-Roots Levels of Tribal Villages and Mandals, which is responsive, transparent, and accountable for achieving the physical targets of well intended Schemes and Programmes.


There does not seem to be proper direction, supervision, control and monitoring of the performance of VROs, MROs and MDOs, who are the key functionaries of the Delivery System at ground level. Because of political patronage, these key functionaries at grass roots levels seem to have become a law onto them, amounting to a mini parallel government, practically ignoring the writ of higher officials at Divisional and District levels, with impunity.


 The District and State Administrations seem to be preoccupied with collecting and compiling data, justifying the utilization of funds drawn against the State and Central Government Programmes and Schemes, rather than supervising, monitoring and controlling proper implementation of the Schemes and achieving the projected physical targets within the specified time frame. 


No Use of New Welfare Schemes with out Good Delivery System


The Tribals and BPL communities in most of the Rural Areas are being deprived of the benefits of well intended welfare schemes and the funds get diverted into the pockets of powerful mafia, which does not get booked because of political patronage. The well intended purpose of new schemes like "Food Security" may not be served, unless the Delivery System at Grass Roots levels is improved and made accountable, by regular monitoring and effective supervision and control at Divisional and District Levels, which should be free from political patronage.


Proposed Bauxite Mining in Agency Areas of Visakhapatnam   


The identified Bauxite Mining sites in Visakhapatnam District are in  the Bauxite Hills--Araku Group & Jerrela Group of Chintapalle -- located, in the notified Scheduled Area, which is predominantly in the hands of Tribal People. The proposed Bauxite Mining will displace Tribal Communities, disturbing Ecological Balance and the rich Biodiversity of  Eastern Ghats and the sources of  important Watersheds   apart from depriving tribal land rights and livelihoods., At the same time, the right of tribals to forest titles as per new Forest Rights Act get nullified. Yet, the costs of mining in relation to Tribal People, Forests & Environment remain unresolved, as they  have hardly been discussed, so far, outside exclusive elite policy forums, heavily influenced by corporate interests and high profile NGOs.


    The  closer scrutiny of the Mining projects in the scheduled areas, reveal maximum benefits are going to particular Private Parties with political influence who manipulate the Decision making  process and Law in their favour, while the costs of land & resource loss and environmental costs are born by poor tribal people, who are denied the "Rule of Law", 


Root Causes of Terrorism


 The private monopoly on control of natural resources such as Land, Minerals, Forests, Water etc, which is in variance with the provisions of  Article 39 ( b ) and ( C ) of The Constitution of India, contributes to a glaring disparity between the rich and the poor, which in turn invariably creates economic and social unrest,


When the deprived lots are denied access to clean air, adequate safe drinking water and soil to meet their basic human needs, we see the rise of a sense of deprivation, hopelessness, intolerance and hatred.  The desperate people can resort to desperate solutions.


 The Intolerance can, in the name of religion or ideology, fan the flames of hate and ignite a belief that terrorism is the only solution to a community's or nation's ills. As a result they may care little about themselves and the people they hurt.


 It is the forces of poverty, environmental degradation and hatred that give birth to the intolerance that can lead to fundamentalism and terrorist acts. While fighting against Terrorism, we must also expose and eliminate the forces that are instrumental for creation of Poverty & Wide Disparity, and Environmental Degradation,  that can lead to an unstable world.


The likely adverse impacts of Bauxite Mining on Peoples' Livelihoods, Rich Bio-Diversity of Eastern Ghats, the Water Sources, and Forests & Environment have generated very wide attention in north coastal AP. But the agencies concerned both at Central & State levels; seem to be blissfully ignorant of their adverse impact on important water-sheds of Sileru, Tandava Nadi etc.

The local people can not be expected to benefit from politically motivated Bauxite Mining projects, which are being bulldozed for individual benefits.  This has created unrest in the minds of Tribal Communities of the Scheduled areas of Visakhapatnam, district, which may trigger terrorist activities in the area, neutralizing the intended impact  of IAP under  LWE programmes 

 As part of the fight against Terrorism in scheduled areas of Visakhapatnam district, the Forest Clearance for Bauxite Mining Projects should be rejected outright, and the Environmental Clearances granted because of extraneous reasons, to JSW and ANRAK Projects be reviewed and cancelled before it is too late. Otherwise there is every possibility and danger of clandestine operation of their Refinery Projects, particularly that of ANRACK, which is reported to be nearing completion..





Monday, December 19, 2011

Pollution Prevention Vs. Control

 The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), Govt. of India  issued guidelines  for categorization of Conditions stipulated in Environmental Clearances (E.C) granted  to different types of Industrial Activities, into "Serious" and "Not So Serious" categories,


Precautionary Principle


 As Highlighted by Supreme Court, it will not be humanly possible for the Regulating Agencies, to keep track of and monitor compliance of plethora of stipulated conditions by the industries spread all over. Moreover, stipulation of conditions / safeguards, is no way of ensuring safety under "Precautionary Principle" as  there is every likelihood that safeguards could fail either due to natural or manmade calamity, or accident or due to mechanical failure or human error.


Experience of last 3 to 4 Decades


 The experience during the last 3 to 4 decades, since The  Water Act, 1974 and  The  Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 have come into force, shows that the process of    according Environmental Clearances to Projects was not entirely based on the  understanding that ecological processes and peoples' rights to a healthy and productive environment, have to be fully respected. The process also did not cover   combined and comprehensive impacts of all kinds of projects and processes that have an impact on the environment, within the same impact zone.


 Citizens' experiences of EIA Reports, Environmental Public Hearings and the Decision Making Process for granting ECs, in respect of many projects, in the name of development are filled with disappointment, anger and frustration. There seems to   be little political will to uphold the principles behind EIA Notification and The Constitutional obligations under Articles 48-A and 51-A (g)


 Penal clauses of the Acts/ EIA Notification have not been effectively enforced by MoEF/State Agencies, which encouraged unethical practices by Project Proponents and EIA Consultants, such as presenting fraudulent, fudged and misleading reports.


Failure of Command & Control Mechanism


Especially in our present system of State controlled and managed Environmental Clearances and Monitoring, Regulation & Control of Pollution, which lacks technical competency, transparency & accountability and susceptible to external influences, the compliance of stipulated conditions appears to be a mockery of pollution control.


The experience during the last 4 decades clearly demonstrated that "Command & Control" mechanism in respect of monitoring and control of pollution has miserably failed, as demonstrated by heavily polluted water bodies and critically polluted areas.


Prevention rather than Control


Therefore it is desirable to opt for pollution abatement technologies and adoption of Clean and Waste Minimization Technologies, rather than permitting pollution to be generated and then trying to control pollution by a plethora of conditions, measures etc.


The universally accepted principles of "Burden of Proof on Polluter "and "Polluter Pays" .be enforced and implemented, to make Non-Compliance a "High-Risk Business' instead of being a "High- Profit Business" as at present. The compliance of conditions will improve without elaborate set up and much of monitoring, once the "Culprits" (Polluters) are identified & named and economically hurt & socially humiliated, by appropriate penal actions.


Specify Max. Permissible Production related Consumptions


 As pollution and waste generation by industrial activities depend on consumption of Water, Electricity, Fuels such as, coal, petroleum products, Raw Materials etc. used in the production process, the upper limits of their permitted consumption per Ton of the end product produced be clearly mentioned under special conditions, marked "Serious" in Environmental Clearance. The appropriate metering /measuring/ weighing and recording the quantities used be specified with the object of minimizing the manipulation of quantities used/consumed..  These should be categorized as "Serious" and  be monitored regularly at monthly/quarterly intervals for ensuring their strict compliance


Specify Max Permissible Production related Effluents /Pollution Levels  


The maximum permissible quantity of effluents generated per Ton of end product produced, specifying their parameters, be clearly mentioned, marked "Serious" under Special Conditions of EC.The measures to be adopted for their treatment and utilization / disposal, clearly specifying quantity and place of their discharge, as applicable, be also mentioned in E.C. As there is a possibility of diluting effluents, the sources and quantity of water permitted to be used, should be clearly mentioned with adequate metering and recording facilities.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

CAG's Report for the Year ended 31 March 2010 -Dept. of MA&UD

Sanctity of Master Plan vitiated by VUDA


The deficiencies, incorrect decisions etc. of Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA), constituted in June 1978, extending its jurisdiction to VMC and 4 Municipal Towns, comprising an area of 1,721 Sq. Kms highlighted in CAG's Report for the year ended 31 st March 2010 are reproduced below:

*VUDA which was established for planned development of the City and to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants, failed to achieve its objectives to a large extent. There were huge shortfalls (64 to 100 per cent) in the achievement of the First Master Plan.

*VUDA did not also effectively coordinate with the departments/agencies concerned for implementation of the Master Plan.

*Approvals of change of Land-Use were given on a case to case basis in violation of the Master Plan, conferring undue benefits to the land owners thus, violating the sanctity of the Master Plan.

* Contract management was deficient. There was loss of revenue of Rs.355.23 Crore to VUDA in development of housing projects/satellite townships, sites etc.(at Rachakonda Village). Also, failure of VUDA in ensuring clear title of the land before commencing the Mega Housing Project at Madhuravada, resulted in unintended benefit to the Contractor.

*VUDA / Government sustained a loss of revenue of Rs15.71 Crore due to incorrect decisions by VUDA in sale/auction of Government lands ( at Madhuravada ) 

*Financial management was deficient. The Annual Accounts for the years from 2007-08 to 2009-10 had not been prepared. This is a serious lapse on the part of VUDA. Due to non- preparation of Annual accounts the financial position of the Authority could not be vouchsafed and the possibility of irregularities, frauds,etc remaining undetected could not be ruled out.

* Maintenance of cashbook was deficient and reconciliation of Cash balances was not done with the Bank Statements. Internal audit was also absent. Thus there was no assurance to VUDA that the Rules and Procedures were being complied with by various wings of VUDA

*Proper Control mechanism was not in place for redressal of Public Grievances. This was indicative of the lack of seriousness of the Authority in handling its mandate


 Observations regarding Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA)


 *Non-adherence to the tender conditions by the HMDA in auctioning the land for  development of land in the adjoining area of Hyderabad city 
  resulted in undue benefit  of Rs.239.88 Crore to the bidders.


* Due to non-incorporation of the safeguards in the agreements, the benefit of post  tender reductions in quantities did not accrue to
   Government in the construction work of PVNR Elevated Expressway Corridor. This resulted in an undue benefit of Rs.86.67  Crore

    to the Contractor.


* Deficient bidding procedure by HMDA led to award of work for a cost higher than the  lowest quoted cost by Rs.23.68 Crore in

  Phase-II of ORR Project in Hyderabad 


*In addition, the observation made in respect of VUDA regarding Change of Land- Use  is also applicable to HMDA, which resorted to change of land-uses, including the ones covered by G.O.111, on case to case basis, amounting to violation of "Sanctity  of The Master Plan", 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Subsidized Diesel - Way out of Misuse ?

As Implementation of dual or differential pricing of Diesel may prove to be cumbersome, the Expert Group of Planning Commission on a Viable &Sustainable System of Pricing of Petroleum Products, recommended taxing of Diesel Cars, SUVs etc. used for personal transportation based on the use of life cycle of the vehicle.  

 Based on the above, the following is suggested to minimize, as prevention may not be possible in our corrupt system, the misuse of subsidized Diesel by private cars, which is estimated to be around 15% of current Diesel Consumption.

a)Life of Vehicle ;                                                                   Say 150,000 K Ms

 b)Fuel Consumption:                                                            Say 10 Kms per Liter 

c) Estimated Qty of Diesel Consumption in life cycle        Say 15,000 Ltrs

d) Subsidy Amount per Ltr:                                                   Say Rs 20 per Ltr

e) Benefit of subsidy amount to Vehicle Owner:                Say Rs 300,000


Accordingly Ex-Factory Sale Prices of Diesel  Cars/SUVs may have to be increased by way of Diesel Tax/Cess or any other name to compensate for the subsidy amount benefit.

To minimize misuse of Subsidized Diesel by bulk users like Industry, Commercial and Domestic sectors, Cell Towers of Mobile Telephone Service providers etc using Diesel Generator Sets for captive or standby purposes, they should get their bulk supply of Diesel from the main outlets of Oil Companies at the market price and should be barred from taking supplies from the retail outlets.

If there is a political will, it will not be difficult to minimize the misuse of Subsidized Diesel and to ensure that genuine requirements of Agriculture and Transport Sectors are met and to reduce the burden of subsidy.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eviction of Encroachers of Village Community Lands

Hon'ble Supreme Court Directive


 The Hon'ble Supreme Court Bench, Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra,in Civil Appeal No.1132/2011 and SLP ( C ) No.3109/2011  in their Order dated 28 th January 2011  declared transfer of village community land for private and commercial use as illegal and directed the States to take immediate steps to evict encroachers.  

 The Supreme Court Bench directed all the State Governments that they should  prepare schemes for eviction of illegal / unauthorized occupants of village community lands- Gram Sabha / Gram Panchayat / Porambok / Shamlat -and restore them back to the Gram Sabha / Gram Panchayat for the purpose they were originally meant for.

 The Supreme Court Bench also directed the Chief Secretaries of all State Governments in the country to do the needful, taking the help of other senior officers of the Governments. The said scheme should provide for speedy eviction of such illegal occupant, after giving a show cause notice and brief hearing. The Supreme Court Bench further directed that long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure in making constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession.



Declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zone around KBR National Park

The MOEF (Wildlife Division) Circular F.No.1-9/ 2007WL-1 (pt) dated 9 th

February 2011 addressed to Chief Wildlife Wardens of all the States,

requested for site specific proposals, as per the guidelines framed for

declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zones around National Parks and Wildlife

Sanctuaries, at the earliest.


Information is requested, if the proposal for declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zone

 around KBR National Park has been forwarded by AP State Chief Wildlife

Warden to MOEF (Wildlife Division)..If not already done, it will be appreciated

if the Eco-Sensitive Zone around KBR National Park, can be finalized at the

earliest possible, taking into consideration, the Mega Realty Project  of

M/ S Jubilee Hills Landmark Projects Ltd, expected to come up abutting

KBR National Park ?  


 Would also be appreciated if the present position regarding declaration of

 Eco-Sensitive Zones around other National Parks -4 Nos, particularly

Mrugavani and Mahavir H.V National Parks around Hyderabad and

 22 Wildlife Sanctuaries,- Kolleru, Nellapattu, Koringa and Kambalakonda-

in particular, can be intimated.?


Monday, November 7, 2011

Abdul Kalam & Nuclear Power?


Shri Abdul Kalam, Former President, is reported to have told Media Persons that "With unique safety systems in place, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant ( KKNPP) is a radiation-free Nuclear Power Plant,"


Compromising Social Responsibility


What is surprising is that reputed persons like Shri Abdul Kalam and some Scientists seem to be going over board, to spread blatant untruths in support of unilateral decision of the Govt.of India, opting for Nuclear Power ? It is being done unmindful of their social responsibility and ignoring the apprehensions of well-informed citizens, giving room to doubt their scientific integrity / credibility?  


Nuclear Power is Not the Answer


Shri Abdul Kalam and the Nuclear Scientists, who keep saying that Nuclear Power is the answer for the growth and development of Indian Economy, should go through the Book "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer"  by Dr. Helen Caldicott, published in 2006 and address some of the very pertinent  points raised against Nuclear Power -(page 4 ) "Very Expensive, Sophisticated and Dangerous Way of Boiling Water to Generate Power."


Health Hazards due to Radiation


Pediatrician, Dr. Helen Caldicott is one of the Worlds most important authorities on the health effects of ionizing radiation. She highlighted that routine and accidental radioactive releases at Nuclear Power Plants during their normal operations, as well as the inevitable leakage of radioactive waste, contaminate water and food chains and expose humans and animals in their vicinity, now and for generations to come.. According to her, no dose of radiation is safe and all radiation is cumulative and each dose received adds to the risk of developing cancer or mutating genes in the reproduction cells. What happens to "Precautionary Principle" ?


Storage of High-Level Nuclear Waste?


It is further highlighted regarding lack of clarity, regarding provision of adequate storage facility for huge quantities of High-level Nuclear Waste generated by Nuclear Power Plants and to supervise and guard the site for periods of time almost beyond our comprehension – 240,000 years! Who is accountable for this ?







Saturday, November 5, 2011

Way Out of G.O.111- Abandon Water Bodies?

  What does G.O.111 stipulate?

 The AP Government, realizing the significance and importance of providing safe drinking water for the progress and well being of the citizens of Hyderabad, issued G.O.Ms.No 111 MA dated 8 th March 1996, prohibiting various developments within 10 Km radius of the two Reservoirs namely Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar, which are the main sources of drinking water supply to for Hyderabad and Secunderabad,. The following are the salient features of G.O.111.

 *Prohibits polluting Industries, Major Hotels, Residential Colonies or other  establishments that generate pollution, in the catchment of the
up to 10  Kms from Full Tank Level (FTL)

  *Residential developments in residential use zone may be  permitted with 60% of   the total area kept as open spaces and roads in all layouts
    in the villages of  prohibited catchment area

  *Restricts the FSI to 1: 0.5 in the catchment area. This measure will ensure that  that 90 % of the area remains under agriculture, as per the  

    prevailing practice   and ensure protection of the lakes


  *The land use of about 90 % of the catchment area is classified as recreational and  conservation use in the Master Plan. The Hyderabad 
    Urban Development Authority (HUDA)   should take action for classification of this 90% of the area as   Agriculture
, which is inclusive of

    horticulture and floriculture.


What are the directives of Supreme Court?


The Hon'ble Supreme Court in its Order dated 1 st December 2000, Ruled that,


  *Coming to the provisions of Water Act, 1974---the fundamental objective of the  statute is to provide clean drinking water to the citizens.  
    Having laid down the policy prohibiting location of any industries within 10 Kms under G.O. 111 of 8-3-1996
, the State could not have granted
to the Respondent industry, nor  to any other industry, from any part of the main GO 111.


  *The Section 19 permitted the State to restrict the application of the Water Act 1974  to particular area, if need be, but it did not enable the   
     State to grant exemption
to a particular industry within the area prohibited for location of polluting industries. Exercise of such a power in 
     favour of a particular industry must be treated as  arbitrary and contrary to public interest and in violation of the right to clean water  under
      Article 21 of the Constitution of India


*The above reasoning given by us does not mean that exemption can be given to all industries within particular radius of the reservoirs 

   unmindful of the possible danger of pollution to the lakes. In fact, exemption granted even to single major  hazardous industry may itself

   be sufficient to make the water in the reservoirs  totally unsafe for drinking water purposes.


*The government could not pass such exemption orders, having dangerous  potential, unmindful of the fate of Lakhs of citizens of twin
   cities,  to whom drinking water is supplied from these lakes.
Such an order carelessly passed  ignoring the precautionary principle'
   could be catastrophic.


     * It is, in our view, not humanly possible for any department to keep track  whether the pollutants are not spilled over. This is exactly where

       the  "Precautionary Principle" comes into play. On the basis of scientific material obtained by the court---, we hold that the Pollution Control
       Board could not be directed to suggest safeguards and there is every likelihood that safeguards could fail either due to accident or due to
       human error.


What are the Ground Realities?


Some of the glaring and major violations of the provisions of G.O.111, as per information available, are summarized below:


   *International Airport Terminal Building and total paved surface area have  occupied 2000 acres of   the prohibited catchment area of   
     Himayat  Sagar.


  *C D F D Fingerprinting Center of GOI is abutting Osman Sagar


  *Golconda Hotel operates right on the banks of Osman Sagar


  *Many residential layouts unauthorized / authorized by local Panchayats are  coming up in the prohibited catchment area


  *Allotment of about 245 acres of land for residential plots of Judges, MPs / MLAs,  IAS Officers, and Media Persons, vide G.O. Ms.No. 522
    dated 4-5-2006, in Vattinagulapalli and the activities in Khanapur, Chilkur etc villages within catchment   area of Osman Sagar 


  *Number of Educational institutions- Engineering and Medical Colleges- set up in   the prohibited catchment area within 10 Km from FTL 


  *Alignment of Outer Ring Road within 500 meters of Himayat Sagar Bund  and cutting through the prohibited catchment area of Osman
    Sagar   at Vattinagulapalli


   * Clandestine Prawn and Fish culture activities are reported to be taking place in the Water Bodies.


 Observations of AP High Court Bench on International Airport


The Writ Petition No.1297 of 2003, filed by the Forum For Better Hyderabad was heard by the Division Bench of AP High Court, comprising Hon'ble Mr. Justice B.Sudershan Reddy and Hon'ble Mr. Justice G.V.Ramulu. Some of the observations of the Hon'ble Bench are summarized below:


"There is no denial of fact that a) one full Runway along with taxiways etc b) Half of 2 nd Runway c) Main Terminal Building and d) Taking off and landing of major aircrafts, continue to be located within the prohibited 10 km zone. There is no whisper anything about the same in the counter affidavits filed by the respondents in the writ petition"


" In the counter affidavit filed by APPCB, it is nowhere mentioned that the pollution Control Board had taken into consideration the fact that the activities referred to hereinabove are located within 10 km of the prohibited zone and they do not result in causing any pollution. In the counter affidavit filed by the State Govt, it is made clear that the activities under reference are within the limits of 10 Kms distance of Himayat Sagar and these activities do result in causing pollution. But the only defense offered is that these activities "do not cause pollution beyond the limits prescribed by law". Much reliance is sought to be placed upon the clearance given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt of India"


 "In the circumstances, we have absolutely no doubt whatsoever in our mind to PRIME FACIE conclude that neither AP Pollution Control Board nor the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Union of India averted themselves as to the effect of permitting the Runways along with taxiways etc, Main Terminal Building and Taking off and landing facilities for major aircrafts, to be located within the prohibited zone of 10 kms. No details are forthcoming as to the impact of pollution that may cause by these activities. There is no data made available for the perusal of the Court. Neither the proceedings dated 18-1-2003 of the AP Pollution Control Board reveal anything about the same nor the clearance by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Union of India speak any thing about it. In the circumstances the averments made in the affidavit filed in support of the Writ Petition remain un- controverted. The issues raised require a deeper and thorough enquiry".


"The Court cannot be a silent spectator and refuse even to consider the matter on merits complaining infringement of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India. We need to remind ourselves that the right of access to clean drinking water is a fundamental right to life and there is a duty on the State under Article 21 to provide clean drinking water to its citizens".


Painful Conclusion


Under the present circumstances, of lack Good Governance and respect to Rule of Law,  when there are no independent Regulating /Monitoring Agencies which can act and function without the interference of NETA/BABU Nexus, when Urban Land is being treated as a Commodity. and when the Govt Agencies themselves are blatantly violating the provisions of G.O.111 in utter disregard to Supreme Court Directives and remaining silent spectators to the violations by the private agencies, there is no way that provisions of  G.O.111, could be implemented, except for abandoning Himayat Sagar and Osman Sagar as Drinking Water Sources .






Friday, October 28, 2011

Global Summit on Biodiversity -KBR National Park.

  It is heartening to note that Hyderabad City is going to host the 11 th Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COD) from October 01-19, 2012. The mega  event, which is expected to be attended by Prime Ministers/ Ministers of about 200 Nations is

going to be the first really Global Summit in Hyderabad City. The convention, while reaffirming the sovereign rights of Nations over their

biological resources, is expected to emphasize the need for conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components.

Extract from INDIAWILDS News Letter Vol. 3, Issue X

"India's bio-diversity is under an unprecedented assault from multiple sources. Vast tracts of wilderness areas are submerged due to the ill planned dams, fragmented due to roads, canals, railways; destroyed due to large industrial projects and unplanned human settlements & avaricious builders-politician-official nexus grabbing forest land "


 National Parks in AP State


Out of 99 National Parks, forming part of the Network of 664 Protected Areas in the country, 5 National Parks are identified and notified in AP State. Hyderabad has the distinction of having 3 of them- KBR, Mrugavani and Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Parks in and around the city. These 3 National parks are facing the problems either by Human Assault, Fragmentation, and Official Neglect.




Suggest that KBR Park be restored to its pristine glory by stopping the Human Assault by way of the Walkers, during the next one year and show case the same to demonstrate what our country is attempting to do for conservation of Biological Diversity and the Sustainable Use of its components. Concurrently efforts may please be made to improve the other two National Parks, where some events of the summit can be held.




Thursday, October 20, 2011

Are N-Power Risks worth Taking and for Whose Benefit?

 Sustainable Development

The universally accepted principle of "Sustainable Development" advocates the pattern of natural resource use while preserving the environment, ensuring that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

 When we consider the entire lifecycle of a Nuclear Power plant, from construction to decommissioning, combined with sourcing of uranium and disposal of the radioactive wastes, the current generation would be making decisions that impact people far into the future. We are supposed to tell future generations, for at least 10,000 years, to keep their feet off nuclear waste dumps.  Mankind has no experience of communicating so many years ahead in time, making Nuclear Waste a serious language problem.

Precautionary Principle

Another universally accepted  "Precautionary Principle" or precautionary approach states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment , in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action.

This principle allows policy makers to make discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from taking a particular course or making a certain decision when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result. There is abundant scientific knowledge and experience since Second World War regarding horrendous harm due to exposure to Nuclear Radiation form plausible risk of meltdown of Nuclear Reactors, which cannot be ruled out by any stretch of imagination.

Nuclear Power: Only Problems – No Solutions

 Sometimes it is important to restate the obvious ones. Smoking is bad because it causes cancer and it is not good to drive drunk because it can lead to serious accidents. Similarly, we should not opt for Nuclear Power, because it is a very Expensive, Sophisticated & Dangerous Way to Boil Water and can be harmful..

 Nuclear Power (NP) is not sustainable, because it's fissile fuel materials are as limited as fossil fuels and it is not only a high-risk technology in terms of safety, but also with respect to financial investment, because without State subsidies, it does not stand a chance.

 Nuclear Power doesn't add up economically, environmentally or socially. and is neither the answer to modern energy problems nor a panacea for climate change challenges, Electricity is but the fleeting byproduct from Nuclear Power and the  actual product is forever deadly radioactive waste, which needs to be isolated from the biosphere for thousands of years that defy human imagination. Even 21 st Century science has no answer for safe disposal of Nuclear Waste.

Energy Security without Nuclear Power?

The total Nuclear Power capacity projected is 60,000 MW by 2031-32, which works out to be hardly 7.5 % of the total projected capacity.800, 000 MW by then.. As the energy conservation potential, in our energy intensive economy, is estimated to be more than 20% we can easily do away with the need for the projected 60,000 MW (10%) Nuclear Power, at huge financial costs and enormous adverse environmental and social impacts. This can be achieved by cost effective "Energy Conservation" measures the fastest and the cheapest way of making available Clean Energy. But will the powerful MNCs in Nuclear Power Sector and their political nexus, permit the energy conservation measures and Green Power from renewable sources to materialize?

Hidden Agenda  

Former Chairperson of Atomic Energy Commission who retired two years ago Dr. Anil Kakodkar ,candidly explained why the Government is importing nuclear reactors and not using indigenous technologies. In an article published in prominent Marathi newspaper Sakaal Times on 5th January 2011 he wrote (translated from Marathi), "We have to keep in mind the commercial interests of foreign countries and of the companies there... America, Russia and France were the countries that we made mediators in these efforts to lift sanctions, and hence, for the nurturing of their business interests, we made deals with them for nuclear projects."

  It seems that the USA has found an unwitting client for its Nuclear Power Plants, which did not find market in their own country, since the 3 Mile Island Incident in 1979 . Are we putting Indian lives at risk for the sake of American jobs (which is what President Obama claimed to create during his visit to India)? Are Indian lives so cheap and we have no regard for our own countrymen?

The less we talk about the safety and cost factors of Nuclear Power, the better.. The Uranium is radioactive substance with unstable atoms with constant Radioactive Disintegration or Decay. It is safer, if it is permitted to remain underground without over exploitation, as it may prove to be a Devil once it is extracted. Let us not make Nallagonda, Kadapa and the surrounding areas exposed to the Devil?  

 Evil vs Devil   Nuclear power is not just the Evil and it is the Devil. Evil of our own making can be overcome. The Devil cannot be overcome, not even if we ourselves conjure him into being. This is why; staking our future on Nuclear Power is a Pact with the Devil, impacting the generations far into the future.  


There exists a deep sense of entitlement, a feeling that people can do anything and have anything they want, as long as they earn enough money, by whatever means. But the world cannot be treated like that any longer. Global resources are finite and the misapplication of science & technology has seriously damaged the ecosystems of this unique planet, threatening the ongoing existence of many millions of  species, including ourselves. Self Sacrifice and Social Responsibility, the noble traits, will lead the world toward Sanity and Survival.

We can survive and move forward in harmony with nature by observing the principles of "Sustainable Development" and "Precautionary Approach", rather than choosing to live dangerously to move forward.