Rainbow Resistance…

Punyanagari (The Virtuous City)


Anand Patwardhan
On freedom of expression and fascist attacks in western India

Pune, Aug 22. Last night a FTII and Yugpath student organized screening of “Jai Bhim Comrade” began with a tribute to anti-superstition campaigner Narendra Dabholkar, who had just the previous day been gunned down by fanatics in the same city. It was our 4th screening of the film at the FTII and as before, the large NFAI auditorium was overflowing. The screening and discussions went off without a hitch. Not a single audience question led me to suspect that Hindutva elements were in attendance. In fact I am always happy to get questions from opposite sides of the political spectrum as I believe that such debates and discussions benefit everyone and are precisely the function of the kind of cinema I believe in. As the film and discussion ended, some audience members left but more poured in for the next event - the first stage appearance of members of the Kabir Kala Manch in over two years. It was of course a depleted KKM. Accused by the State of associating with Naxalites, three of their main singers and poets are still in jail awaiting trial. Last month Sheetal Sathe, their charismatic lead singer/poet was granted bail but was unavailable having just delivered a baby. Barring Deepak Dengle, other KKM members who are out of prison, were not lead singers but part of the chorus or the support team. As Jyoti Jagtap said to the audience in her introduction: “We are not trained musicians from the Gwalior gharana, or the Jaipur or Agra gharanas. We are working class youth from the basti, factory and farm-labour gharanas. We won’t be able to deliver the perfect note or play the perfect instrument but if you listen to our words, I am confident that what we have to say will be of interest.”


Sheetal Sathe of Kabir Kala Manch: Songs of social change

KKM lived upto its promise. They began with a song they dedicated to the memory of Narendra Dabholkar. It was the Ambedkar inspired song against superstition “Amhi Devhara Bajula Saarlay” (We have set aside all our gods). Following this was a rousing anti-nuclear song on Jaitapur, then the moving “Sau” an ode to Savitribai Phule and concluding with the defiant:

“Kabir wants to break his shackles to dance and sing.Let him dance and sing!”

The entire audience was captivated. People were elated and milled around in the NFAI premises for a long time afterwards. Some students sent for chai, others wanted to take group photos. Suddenly I saw Deepak Dengle surrounded by an animated group of about a dozen people. After a while we realized that this group was hostile and we pulled Deepak away to have tea rather than allow an argument to escalate. The group now took their wrath out on FTII students. A single plain-clothes policeman at the site seemed completely disinclined to stop the aggression. Suddenly the group revealed its identity by chanting ABVP slogans and shouting “Down with Naxalites”. Out of nowhere orange flags and sticks appeared and began to be brandished. Finally as people walked away from them the group seemed to disperse and we got on with our tea and photos. But the group had merely retreated into the darkness and not dispersed. Outside the NFAI compound they physically attacked and injured 5 FTII students, one of whom was hospitalized with a head injury that needed stitches. Concerned with the safety of KKM, the students escorted them out and they all reached home safely. So ended KKM’s first stage reappearance in over two years. It will be recalled that a few months ago 2 KKM members were jailed overnight at Taloja for singing songs at a protest march against a builder who had usurped a pilgrimage site connected with the working class Saint Tukaram. The police claimed they had sung “Naxalite” songs. The songs in question happened to be composed by the legendary Ambedkarite poet Vamandada Kardak. A pattern of suppression seems to be emerging. By branding them as Naxalites the State has succeeded in creating a tag which even a court judgment in favour of KKM may not remove. When they emerge from jail they will be followed and harassed either by the police or by right-wing vigilantes.
Another pattern is emerging. Two days ago “unknown” gunmen killed Narendra Dabholkar in broad daylight. No right-wing group has taken credit. All the vociferous opponents of Dabholkar from the mainstream BJP and Shiv Sena to the lunatic fringe of the Hindu right, deny all responsibility. Yes we opposed him they admit, but no, we did not kill him. Last night at least the ABVP was not shy to announce who they were. This is of course easier to do when you can paint your opponents as anti-national Naxalites. Earlier Dabholkar too was branded as a Naxalite in some quarters. The non-violent anti-nuclear protestors in Kudankulam have been called Naxalites as have been people connected with Medha Patkar. Naxalites are now entering our cities, scream the newspapers. They will soon be pouring out from our taps.

August 22, 2013

Anand Patwardhan
The author is a renowned filmmaker based in Mumbai.
Tags : Jai Bhim Comrade, Narendra Dabholkar, Kabir Kala Manch

Arrest of Hem Mishra and Prashant Rahi:

Silencing voices questioning
violation of fundamental rights


The Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO) strongly condemns the arrest of Prashant Rahi and Hem Mishra, accusing them of Naxal links. Though the exact date of Hem Mishra’s arrest is yet to be ascertained, he was most probably picked up by the police around around 15th August. Prashant Rahi was on the other hand was arrested on the 2nd September. The allegation against both of them is that they were carrying some documents/ literature.Both have been charged under the notorious Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA]. Both are serving a long period of police remand without being provided a lawyer.


Hem Mishra: People’s performer (Courtesy: Towards a New Dawn; Home page picture courtesy cracktivist.org)

Hem Mishra (32 years) had been active with a student organization in Uttarakhand before coming to Delhi, when he obtained admission at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. In the year 2007/08, a number of activists involved in organizing youth and the rural poor in Uttarakhand were arrested on the allegation of Maoist links. So potent was the terror unleashed, that few would dare to question the allegations or meet the arrested persons for fear of being implicated. Hem Mishra, handicapped in one hand, was the person who visited all the arrested in jail and helped them get legal support. One of the arrested at that time was Prashant Rahi.
Prashant Rahi (52 years) worked as a journalist in Uttarakhand. He was also passionately involved with a host of protest movements ranging from issues of forest-dwellers, and of rural labour, to the displacement by the Tehri dam. Arrested in December 2007, alleged to be a most-senior Maoist leader, Prashant was kept in solitary confinement through most his 3 year 8 month stay in the jail. Once released on bail, Prashant took upon himself to visit those imprisoned as Naxalites all over the country and to help them obtain access to a lawyer. To this end, he was regularly travelling to across the country collecting details of cases and reaching the same to lawyers.
That there is no real allegation of any crime against both Hem Mishra and Prashant Rahi, it is evident from the fact that both have been charged solely on the basis of the UAPA. For, it is this law that makes normal social and political activity into a crime solely on the whims and fancies of the police. Banning of political organisations and converting any association with such organizations and their opinions into a crime is what opens the gates to the law becoming an instrument of injustice.
In addition, the illegal, yet reasonably settled practice of the police of not registering a panchnama at the time of the detention, makes it difficult to ascertain the exact date, time and place of arrest. Such unlawful detention leaves much scope for abuse. It is ironical, in cases where UAPA is applied, courts have been less critical of the blatant violations of procedure, in the name of larger security concerns.
Thus while the alleged “crime” as well as the circumstances of the arrest remain suspect, a vilification campaign has been mounted by the police that masquerades as information in the newspapers. No doubt, that this has become the preferred method to silence those working for basic civil liberties and implementation of fundamental rights. Another favourite practice of the police has been to foist new cases against accused, especially under the UAPA and its previous incarnations, when those accused are either released on bail or else when acquittal in the existing cases is at hand. This has been done ad nauseum to frustrate the bail or acquittal orders of the court and has not yet found serious criticism from the judiciary. In the case against Prashant Rahi too, no incriminating evidence has been found against him in the case in Uttarakhand and he would be acquitted soon.
We therefore demand the immediate dropping of all charges under the UAPA and the immediate release of those arrested.

Kranthi Chetanya (APCLC, Andhra Pradesh), Paramjeet Singh (PUDR, Delhi), Parmindar Singh (AFDR, Punjab), Phulendro Konsam (COHR, Manipur) and Tapas Chakraborty (APDR, West Bengal) (Coordinators of CDRO).

Constituent Organisations: Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC); Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR, West Bengal); Bandi Mukti Morcha (West Bengal); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR, Mumbai); Coordination for Human Rights (COHR, Manipur); Human Rights Forum (HRF, Andhra Pradesh); Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS), Assam; Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR); Organisation for Protection of Democratic Rights (OPDR, Andhra Pradesh); Peoples’ Committee for Human Rights (PCHR, Jammu and Kashmir); Peoples Democratic Forum (PDF, Karnataka); Peoples Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL, Chhattisgarh); Peoples Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL, Jharkhand); Peoples Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL, Nagpur); Peoples Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL, Rajasthan); Peoples Union For Democratic Rights (PUDR, Delhi); Peoples Union for Civil Rights (PUCR, Haryana) and Campaign for Peace & Democracy in Manipur (CPDM), Delhi


Tags : India, civil liberties, Hem Mishra, Prashant Rahi

Human-made Disaster in the Himalayas

The Alakananda has cleared its path:
Vishnuprayag
HEP (400 MW) collapsed

Vimalbhai and Briharshraj Tadiyal

(An eye-opener on the 16-17 June floods in Uttarakhand, the northern Indian state up in the Himalayan mountainous region, which killed more than 1,000 people.)


In the recent flood in Alaknandaganga (near Badrinath Temple), when the waters rose, dam authorities failed to open all the gates of the dam. Due to this, a 2 K.M. long reservoir was formed upstream of the dam. Pressure from the water broke the dam and went on to wipe out the Lambagad Village market.
Some shops in the Lambagadh market were already washed away when water was released unannounced from the dam in 2012. When villagers asked for compensation from dam authorities, dam authorities threatened to file police cases against them.
This year, water from the upper reaches of Alaknandaganga came unannounced and demolished the Vishnuprayag HEP [hydro-electric project].
This was the first dam to be built under a Private Public Partnership on the Alaknandaganga. This dam has also destroyed Vishunuprayag, the confluence of the Dhouliganga and Alaknandaganga. We have news that Dams on Mandakini River such as Phata-Buyong HEP and Singoli-Bhatwari HEP badly damaged. Small dams on Madhyamaheshwar and Kali rivers are also badly damaged. These small dams were funded by Asian Development Bank.
The construction of all these HEPs is responsible for big damage in the whole Ganga valley. This incident once again strengthens our argument that the Himalayas cannot support big HEPs or other big structures. The government and planners must understand the floods as an indication from nature and stop the madness of HEPs.



Earlier view of Vishnupryag HEP (400MW), View from upstream 20 February 2012



Destroyed Vishnupryag HEP (400MW), View from the upstream 26 June, 2013



Vimalbhai and Briharshraj Tadiyal
Matu Jansangthan (Village Chham, Pathri Part-4, Haridwar, Uttarakhand) (Visit blog at matuganga.blogspot.in)
Tags : Uttarakhand flood, Big dams, environmental disaster

No to Nuclear Power Plants
An Open Letter
to the Media Houses in India



The Struggle Committee                                                                      June 16, 2013
People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tirunelveli District
Tamil Nadu

Dear friends:

....We are sure that you have noticed the postponement of the commissioning of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) to July 2013 without giving any reasons or explanations. It is really so disappointing and upsetting why no print or visual media in our country asks the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) or its Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) about this. There has not been one single editorial in any Indian newspaper or an informed debate on any TV debate on the repeated postponement of the KKNPP commission since 2005. Don't the people of India need to know the reasons behind this constant postponement and continued ducking and dodging by the prime minister, central ministers, chief minister, and nuclear officials?
We have been crying from the roof top that there has been massive corruption in the KKNPP and shoddy, substandard components and spares have been used in the project, but no [north Indian] media house in India has shown any interest to probe this issue further... In Tamil Nadu both in the Tamil and the English media, a few irresponsible media houses have been portraying a very negative picture of our movement because of their connection with the nuclear industry, or their "higher caste" bias, or for cheap monetary gains. ...As a result of the gross failure of the Fourth Pillar in our democracy, criminals wander about as leaders; 'Merchants of Venice' dominate the economic affairs; and all-knowing-scientists and engineers adopt an anti-people attitude in their mega-development projects. Consequently, there is rampant corruption, inefficiency, wastefulness, depression, inflation, regress, and overall moral decay all over the country. Hence it is high time we undertook a thorough and comprehensive soul-search about the duties and responsibilities of the media in India. The Koodankulam struggle can be a cornerstone for undertaking this analysis.....
We enclose a write-up pointing out the salient features of the crippled KKNPP that deserves national attention and nation-wide debate. If the Indian media houses fail to do this, all the Neo-East India Companies from the United States, Russia, France and everywhere else will come to dominate our socioeconomic-political affairs and enslave us all over again. Looking forward to your careful consideration of our letter and favorable actions, we send you our best personal regards and all peaceful wishes,
Cordially,
S. P. Udayakumar (Coordinator), M. Pushparayan, F. Jayakumar, M.P. Jesuraj, R.S. Muhilan, Peter Milton, V. Rajalingam, Ms S. Lidwin

The Koodankulam Fact Sheet

Please allow us to bring the following dangerous developments, difficulties and discrepancies in the Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP) to your kind consideration and request your immediate intervention to expose the irregularities and improprieties in the nuclear energy sector in India and save the people from massive disasters:

[1] Shoddy and Substandard Equipment from ZiO-Podolsk, Informtech Etc.

First and the most important of all, the KKNPP has been constructed with substandard equipment and parts supplied by ZiO-Podolsk, an engineering subsidiary of the Russian company Rosatom. The company's official website has declared unequivocally: "Over the past few years ZiO produced and implemented a set of equipment for foreign nuclear power plants with VVER-1000: Tianwan (China), Busher (Iran), Kudankulam (India)"
(http://aozio.ru/production/ob-atom/). ZiO-Podolsk began shipping shoddy equipment in 2007 or perhaps even earlier. In February 2012, the procurement director, Mr. Sergei Shutov, was arrested for buying low quality and cheap raw material, passing it off as more expensive grade and pocketing the difference. The Federal Security Service, or FSB, the successor organization to the KGB, has been investigating the case that has serious implications for the safety of nuclear power plants built by Russia.
During July 15-18, 2012, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) delegation that included Special Secretary Mr. A. P. Joshi, Deputy Secretary Mr. Ninian Kumar and the Manager of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Mr. Dzhogesh Pady visited ZiO-Podolsk and discussed a range of issues related to the preparation for the launch of KKNPP-1, the progress of the KKNPP-2 etc. and signed a number of contracts relating to the implementation of the current phase of the KKNPP. (AtomEnergoMash, Posted 19.07.2012).
However, when we asked the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) under RTI on January 28, 2013 for "a list of those equipment and parts that have been supplied by Zio-Podolsk to the KKNPP units," the NPCIL replied tersely on February 20, 2013 (No. NPCIL/VSB/CPIO/2460/HQ/2013/371): "No Information regarding any investigation against Zio-Podolsk is available to NPCIL." It is a gross untruth and deception because the top DAE officials had just visited the ZiO-Podolsk and they must have followed up the developments. The NPCIL is hiding serious and important information from the Indian public and misleading the entire nation possibly to protect some Russian and Indian middlemen and profiteers.
When we asked the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) on January 28, 2013 for "a list of those equipment and parts that have been supplied by Zio-Podolsk to the KKNPP units" they responded on February 12, 2013 (No. AERB/RSD/RTI/Appl. No. 329/2013/2421) very evasively: "Selection of a company for supplying any equipment to NPCIL, is not under the purview of AERB. However, with respect to Quality Assurance (QA) during design, construction, commissioning and operation, a set of well established AERB documents on QA Codes and Guides are published and they were followed during the safety review of KKNPP." Later the NPCIL confirmed officially (in its letter No.
NPCIL/VSB/CPIO/2574/KKNPP/2013/737 dated April 29, 2013) that the controversial and corruption-ridden M/S ZiO Podolsk has supplied the following equipment and parts to the KKNPP: "Steam Generators, Cation and anion filters, Mechanical Filter, Moisture Separator and Reheater, Boric solution storage tanks, Regenerative blow down heat exchanger, Pipelines and fittings of different systems, Insulation materials, PHRS Heat exchanger." In other words, the Koodankulam project in its entirety is unsafe and dangerous.
Another Russian court has convicted one Mr. Alexander Murach, Director of another notorious Russian company, Informtech, for fraud and sentenced him to three years in prison for selling counterfeit measuring equipment for nuclear and hydro power plants' turbines. The NPCIL has just confirmed in its letter dated May 24, 2013 (No. NPCIL/VSB/CPIO/2670/HQ/2013/884) that they have received "Communication equipment" from Informtech.
Some ten Czech and Slovak companies have also supplied valves, pumps and cables to the Koodankulam project. Leoš Tomíček, Executive Vice-president of Rusatom Overseas says: "We already work with Czechs today. For example, for two blocks of the Indian Koodankulam nuclear power plant, nine Czech companies supplied us with valves, pumps, cables and other equipment worth 58 million dollars." There have been many cable-related accidents and deaths at the KKNPP. T. S. Subramanian says in a 2009 article: "Cabling is under way in the state-of-the-art control room for Unit-1, which is akin to an aircraft's cockpit. M.I. Joy, Additional Chief Engineer (Site Planning), KKNPP, said, "Once the cabling is completed, the entire control of the plant, including the reactor and turbine, will be done from the control room." The plant's control room is humidity-controlled. "The atmosphere is so pure here that the cables will not be spoiled," said Joy.
(http://www.frontline.in/navigation/?type=static&page=flonnet&rdurl=fl2616/stories/20090814261612). It is this "so pure" atmosphere that has killed six workers in the past three months in electrocution accidents. The quality of the Czech cables and the checkered electrical work, and the role of Mr. M. I. Joy in all these are important questions must be looked into. Since shoddy and substandard equipment and parts in a massive nuclear power park pose enormous dangers of epic proportion to millions and millions of innocent people in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and elsewhere, this issue has to be thoroughly and comprehensively probed in collaboration with the officials of Rosatom, Atomstroyexport, Federal Security Service (FSB) and most importantly, with independent nuclear experts in India.

[2] The Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) Lies!

Izhorskiye Zavody, which is part of United Machinery Plants (OMZ) holding, signed a contract with India for the construction of two nuclear reactor bodies for Kudankulam's station in 2002. They shipped a new nuclear reactor body that would be the first power unit of India's Kudankulam nuclear power plant to the city's sea port. Yevgeny Sergeyev, general director of Izhorskiye Zavody, said at a ceremony sending off the reactor: "We were so sure of our partners that we started to produce the first reactor bodies four months before the official contract was signed." Sergeyev said the reactor was completed six months before deadline (The St Petersburg Times, 19 November 2004, http://sptimes.ru/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=2135). The Koodankulam reactor pressure vessel (RPV) arrived at the Tuticorin Port in January 2004. The first unit of the power plant was expected to be synchronized in December 2007, and the second unit by December 2008. Mr. S. K. Aggarwal, the then project director said: "The project officials have targeted to complete the works for synchronisation of both the units in March and September 2007 respectively."
The Russian Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Supervision, Rostekhnadzor, claimed in 2009: "The main causes of violations in the NPP construction works are insufficient qualifications, and the personnel's meagre (sic) knowledge of federal norms and rules, design documentation, and of the technological processes of equipment manufacturing. In particular, the top management of Izhorskiye Zavody have been advised of the low quality of the enterprise's products and have been warned that sanctions might be enforced, up to suspending the enterprise's equipment production licence"
(http://www.gosnadzor.ru/osnovnaya_deyatelnost_slujby/otcheti-o-deyatelnosti-sluzhbi-godovie/). Unlike the original design of the Koodankulam RPVs, the erected ones have beltline welds, questionable quality and corruption charges.

[3] Fiddling with the Reactor Design and Doing an Unauthorized Refit

When the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)'s dialogue with the Central Government's Expert Group got aborted due to the violent attack on us by some anti-social elements, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister appointed a team of four members to study the KKNPP issue. When that group included Dr. M. R. Srinivasan, the former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), we objected to his inclusion in the team. However, he continued to be part of the team and we did have a dialogue with the team on February 19, 2012 in Tirunelveli.
During our interaction that was held in the presence of the Tirunelveli District Collector and other officials, Dr. Srinivasan never mentioned once that the DAE had made changes in the core of the reactor. It is also not revealed to the public until now if he and the team included this unauthorized fiddling in the report they submitted to the CM. However, Dr. Srinivasan has publicly acknowledged now: "We sought an additional safety mechanism well before the Fukushima disaster. The safety mechanism consists of valves. The original reactor design had to be altered and I feel this is the basic cause for delay." According to him, the valves were designed partially in India and Russia and compatibility with the reactor led to some hiccups (http://newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/article1517314.ece).
After fiddling with the original design of the KKNPP reactors, the Indian authorities went back and did an unauthorized "refit" without revealing the details to anyone. All these things point out the inherent deficiencies of the Russian reactors, their vulnerability due to all the fiddling, and their untrustworthiness after the refit. Since this matter has to do with the lives and sustenance of millions and millions of people, all the relevant details must be made public.

[4] Blaming the Protests for Atomic Inefficiency and Inept Engineering

The Russian and the Indian nuclear authorities are hiding their corruption, wastefulness and inefficiency by conveniently blaming the struggling people for all the delay and cost overrun. The Indian Express newspaper asserts that the "delay is on the supply side from Russia as a whole lot of components have been replaced, some of which had to be shipped in." The KKNPP sources have also confessed that the "containment vessel of the nuclear core too has been changed since the old one had sprung a leak, which was detected three months ago during testing" (http://newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/article1517314.ece).
The KKNPP authorities claim that "most components meant for Unit-II that were already in the warehouse were used as replacements for Unit-I." It is not clear why they were kept in the warehouse since Unit 2 was also being concurrently constructed along with Unit 1. The nuclear authorities are hiding the plain truth that Unit 1 is a complete failure and hence they are trying to revive it with the parts of Unit 2. Nobody knows the total loss that India has suffered because of all these shifting and shuffling.
The Srinivasan-confessed "refit" of KKNPP-1 is being blamed on its "idling for months together because of a major agitation plus litigation in the Supreme Court." This is an outrageous falsehood! Even when our agitation was going on between September 2011 and March 2012, regular and full-swing maintenance work was going on at the Koodankulam plant on a daily basis. When the Tamil Nadu government changed its stand on our agitation on March 19, 2012 and pushed us to the village of Idinthakarai, the Site Director of KKNPP Reactors I and II, Mr. R.S. Sundar, said the "water chemistry" of the water being used in the coolant was encouraging as proper maintenance had been carried out with skeletal staff during the protests (P. Sudhakar, "Croatian experts to inspect the condition of equipment," The Hindu, March 23, 2012). Mr. S. T. Arasu, Senior Maintenance Engineer at KKNPP said: "We have operated all the pumps to measure the vibration level, which is less than the desirable baseline data and it shows the quality of our skilled workforce. Though this section could not be given complete attention during the past five-and-a-half months, the equipment are functioning in an amazing fashion" (P. Sudhakar, "Employees at Kudankulam project site a charged lot," The Hindu, March 24, 2012). Mr. Yevgeniy N. Dudkin, the head of the Russian Specialists Group, said that none of the Russian specialists of Atomstroyexport had left the project site during the protests. He pointed out that some additional works needed to be done and said, "It is not a huge work." (P. Sudhakar and S. Sundar, "Primary coolant pumps to undergo another trial," The Hindu, March 29, 2012.) Similarly, when the Supreme Court began its hearing on a batch of petitions in September 2012, they refused to give a 'stay' to halt the ongoing work at KKNPP and allowed the authorities to continue with their work. Accordingly, the AERB allowed fuel loading in September 2012 dismissing the feelings and sentiments of millions of struggling people in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Now the Supreme Court has given a green signal to run the project subject to 15 stringent recommendations.
But the KKNPP, NPCIL, AERB, and the DAE officials are conveniently blaming their inordinate delay in commissioning the KKNPP-1 on the "corrosion and leakage since sea water was used as the coolant." If the pipes leak and corrode within such a short time, the government should order a probe into the quality of these pipes, the quality of the various equipment and spares that were sent by the Russians. If these pipes and parts cannot withstand one year of sea water circulation, how are they going to function safely for 40-60 years?

[5] Mounting Costs and Massive Corruption

Every single deal that India has signed with Russia has proved to be a disaster and big loss for India. The INS Vikramaditya/Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier has been delayed by five years with the final cost hovering in the $2.9 billion range. The time overrun and cost escalation also plagues another mega Indo-Russian defense deal of upgrading MiG-29 fighter planes. The KKNPP is yet another disaster.
The approved cost of the KKNPP 1 & 2 project is Rs. 13,171 crores. But the DAE and the NPCIL claim that they have spent an additional amount of Rs. 4,000 crores on the non-performing project. Nobody knows the exact end cost of the KKNPP or the breakdown of the final amount. The former AERB Chief, Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, has claimed that the decision to import 40,000 MW capacity Light Water Reactors (LWRs) in early 2006 was taken without any techno-economic evaluation by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) or any other agency. According to Dr. Gopalakrishnan, "The decisions, price negotiations and supply terms are being negotiated by the UPA- 2 government in haste, with the intention of fulfilling the PM's commitments to these foreign governments and their companies before he demits office. .The decision was merely a quid-pro-quo to give business to the reactor manufacturers in those countries which helped India get a Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) waiver" (DNA, February 16, 2013).
The Russian nuclear company, Atomstroyexport, has just released its financial statement for the year 2011. The company claims that losses in 2011 were twice bigger than the losses of 2010, and that the company is on the brink of bankruptcy. This has seriously affected the Russian nuclear projects at Koodankulam in India and Busher in Iran
. We wonder if the Indian government is secretly helping the Russian company with its losses and bankruptcy.
The NPCIL authorities have claimed that the Rs.4,000 crores cost overrun at Koodankulam is due to the "increase in interest during construction (IDC), escalation on works, contractor's overheads and establishment charges" (RTI reply dated February 20, 2013). It is pertinent to note that the Russian government is not making such financial compensation to India for all the delay and cost overrun in all of the above projects.
Instead of explaining these mounting costs and massive irregularities, the Russian Ambassador to India Mr. Alexander Kadakin simply misleads Indians by unnecessary and unacceptable comments on our internal affairs. We wonder if the Indian nuclear establishment is secretly helping the Russian company with its losses and bankruptcy. We wonder if the Koodankulam financial irregularities involve both Indian and Russian nuclearocrats, diplomats and politicians.

[6] Commissioning the KKNPP Every 15 Days

Instead of reporting to the citizens of India inside India about the largest and imported nuclear power park at Koodankulam, the Prime Minister of India goes to South Africa and reassures the President of Russia of its commissioning process (no pun intended). When the Prime Minister had announced in Moscow that the KKNPP would be commissioned "in a couple of weeks" on December 15, 2011, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister expressed her dissent and displeasure immediately.
The calendar for commissioning of KKNPP-1 has been shifted some 20 times in the past one year by politicians, bureaucrats and the nuclear authorities. In fact, this "commission dating" process has been going on from 2005 onwards and the Union Minister of State, Mr. V. Narayanasamy has set a record of sorts for himself in this calculated and irresponsible misinformation campaign. All these people have been lying to the nation repeatedly and recklessly and hence we cannot trust these authorities with our and our families' safety and well-being. If there is any truth and decorum in public life in India, all these officials should resign from their respective posts.

[7] No Information, No Liability, No Pollution Safeguard

The Government of India and the DAE have not shared any basic information with us about the KKNPP. Even after the Central Information Commission (CIC) has instructed them, they have not shared the Site Evaluation Report (SER) and the Safety Analysis Report (SAR) with us. They have not heard our opinions or allayed our fears and concerns about the lack of fresh water resources, the changes in the design of the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV), the management of liquid and solid waste and so on.
Neither have the Indian nuclear authorities got any liability from the Russian government and/or companies for KKNPP 1 and 2. The Government of India is not even willing to share the secretive Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) that they signed with the Russian government in 2008. Even as we are dealing with KKNPP 1 and 2, the Government of India is announcing the agreement on KKNPP 3 and 4 with utter disregard for the sentiments of the local people and the people of Tamil Nadu as a whole.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has also given consent to discharge enormous amounts of sewage, trade effluent, desalination plant effluent, demineralization effluent, steam generator effluent, suspended solids, dissolved solids, and many other waste products into the sea. The TNPCB fixed the temperature of the effluents at the discharge point as 45 degrees and later summarily reduced it to 36 or 37 degrees. They have also allowed the KKNPP to release significant amounts of Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, particulate matters and many other harmful radioactive pollutants into the air. Nobody seems to bother about the impact of all these on the sea, sea food, crops, dairy, food security, nutrition, health and wellbeing of us, our children and grandchildren.
Furthermore, it is revealed now that the NPCIL does not hold valid and legitimate clearances for all the various buildings and installations in the KKNPP from the Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority under the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification of 2011.

[8] The Tamils Get Elegy and the Others Get Energy!

Even though the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has written to the Prime Minister on March 31, April 25 and August 19, 2012, demanding all the power from the KKNPP to Tamil Nadu, the Prime Minister or his PMO never even acknowledged those letters. Earlier the CM had demanded more power from the Central Pool and financial help for various power generation schemes, but the UPA government always ignored her genuine requests and earnest efforts. If this is the way the UPA government treats the Chief Minister of an important State and popular leader of millions of Tamil people, one can possibly imagine the feelings and attitude they may have towards the poorest of the poor who have been struggling on our own for almost two years now. The Congress Party and the UPA government seem to have scant regards for the Tamil fishermen, Tamil women, and the Tamil people as a whole....
Given the above situation, may we request you to demand an inquiry into the construction, equipment, overall quality, performance and the viability of the entire Koodankulam nuclear power project; removal of the fuel rods from the core of the Unit 1 reactor; conversion of the KKNPP into a pro-people and Nature-friendly Model New Energy Park; bringing about renewable energy projects all over our country; rectifying the transmission and distribution issues, and protecting the interests and well-being of the Tamil people and our progeny?... (Slightly abridged.)



Tags : Koodankulam, nuclear power plants, anti-nuclear movement

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Top 10 countries requesting for user data from tech companies



The U.S. government submitted more than 30,000 user data requests to Google, Microsoft, Skype and Twitter in 2012. Most of those requests were fulfilled and user information and/or user-generated content was disclosed either partially or in full.

Note: Google's figures = subpoenas, court orders and search warrants. Microsoft and Skype figures = law enforcement requests only. Microsoft differentiates between content and non-content data when disclosing information. It defines content data as what customers create, communicate, and store on or through their services and non-content data as basic subscriber information. Twitter's figures = worldwide government requests the company received for user account
information, typically in connection with criminal investigations or cases.
* Does not include national security requests, including those made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
** Skype did not disclose any data in 2012 but provided guidance to law enforcement on 501 accounts.
*** Percentages for Brazil and Australia are ranges as Twitter did not disclose the exact number of requests for those countries.
N.A. : Not available; company did not recede requests from the country.
Sources: Google Transparency Report 2012; Mlcrosoft/Skype 2012 Law Enforcement Requests Report: Twitter Transparency Report.
C. Chan,
12/06/2013
Reuters


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