An Appeal to Union Environment Minister
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Working For The Rights & Survival Of The Oppressed
Editor: NAGARAJ.M.R… VOL.05 issue. 14…… 06/04/2011
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“There is a higher court than the court of justice and that is the court of conscience It supercedes all other courts. ”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Editorial: An Appeal to Mr.Jai Ram Ramesh Union Environment Minister , GoI , New Delhi
Dear Minister ,
In India , the super brainy people’s representatives , MPs , MLAs & IAS babus take decisions much against the wishes of people , which are detrimental to the health , lives of people and the ecology. The Medicines , food products , pesticides , industrial products Banned In most developed countries like USA & banned even in developing countries like Bangladesh are legally sold in India. Our Babus & Netas are brilliant. Take for example – banned medicine PARACETAMOL , NIMESULIDE , Banned food products like COLAS (as sold in India) , Banned Industrial products like ASBESTOS , Banned pesticide like ENDOSULFAN all these are legally sold in india. The list goes on , add to this ill conceived mega projects , SEZs. All these are legally approved by the authorities & cleared by your ministry . Therefore , for all the mishaps , destruction of environment , death , sufferings , health ailments of people the GoI & respective state governments , Concerned Union Environment & Health Ministers are directly responsible.
These Ministers are people’s representatives elected to work as POSTMAN of people , to express the wishes of people in parliament & to formulate policies accordingly . These ministers nor IAS babus are required to show their brains . The present sad state of affairs is due to the usage of brains by ministers , IAS babus by neglecting the wishes & aspirations of people. Are you not guilty officially ? Are you not liable to pay compensation ?
Hereby , we do once again request you to ban the harmful pesticides like ENDOSULFAN , harmful medicines like NIMESULIDE ,PARACETAMOL , harmful GM food crops , harmful industrial products like ASBESTOS , etc from Indian market and not to give clearance to any projects against the people’s wishes . Hereby , we do call upon you to pay adequate compensation to victims of your ill conceived official decisions ,to arrange for proper rehabilitation of victims and for protection of environment . After all you are in that constitutional position by the wish of people only not by the mercy of any lobbies or MNCs. Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.
Your’s sincerely ,
I refer to the two of your interviews referred to in the news items below.
“Ramesh says achieving 33 per cent forest cover unrealistic”
“India cannot abandon nuclear power: Jairam Ramesh”
To say that achieving 33 per cent forest cover is unrealistic is tantamount to say that our environment can be completely compromised for the sake of so called GDP centred development. 33% forest cover has been the target recommended by National Forest Policy, which the present govt. has not disowned yet. Without recommending a different target figure, to say that the earlier figure is unrealistic is sacrilegious to say the least. What is the revised target figure you are proposing: 20%, 10% or even 5%? What is the guarantee that this revised figure will not be laughed at by the next MoEF? Has MoEF the support of any objective scientific study to arrive at such a conclusion?
The figure of 33% target recommended by National Forest Policy has been done after a careful analysis of all the related issues, even though that target itself is considered by many scientists as inadequate to ensure a health environment to our people on a sustainable basis. Looking at how the density/quality/extent of our forests is being reduced every year, the figure of 33% can certainly be termed as inadequate. The wise people in your ministry seem to confuse trees with forests. I am living in the midst of Western Ghats, and on observing the continuous degradation of forests here, and on talking to the villagers, scientists and environmentalists it becomes very clear that the concerned authorities have no objective to adequately protect our bio-diversity. Fast degrading forests, as we have today, even in 50% of the total area of our country cannot provide us the quality and quantity of ecological services our country needs. Instead of making honest efforts to increase the provision of such ecological services, MoEF seem to be focused on how to reduce such services even further to benefit few industrial/corporate houses.
The large number of mines, power projects, SEZs, industries, airports, townships etc. being licensed all over the country within or in the vicinity of ecologically sensitive areas will further reduce both the density and extent of forest cover. One would have expected that MoEF to have a basic knowledge that dense bio-rich rain forest stretches can support millions of people as they are doing now in Asia, Africa and South America than the large number of polluting industries, which have already made life miserable for such people.
It is very disturbing that the MoEF itself say that forests are expendable for the lop-sided growth we are witnessing today. In this background all other actions and appearances of MoEF will be seen as mere ostentation.
The statement attributed to you on the subject of nuclear power is even more baffling. It seems obvious that the officials have misrepresented the facts to you when you were in Power Ministry, and/or you have completely got your facts wrong.
Despite a massive investment by DAE since 1950s, the percentage of installed nuclear capacity is only 2.8% of the total installed power capacity; and its annual energy contribution is even much less because of poor performance of the nuclear power plants. Compare this with negligible investment by the govt. in renewable energy sources. Starting from 1990 this sector has already achieved about 13% of the total installed capacity. What sort of environmental and social risks can you attribute to this sector?
Can our poor and densely populated country afford to take the risk of a nuclear emergency? If a techno-economically advanced country like Japan, with a huge focus on safety quality and emergency preparedness, is struggling to contain the evolving nuclear holocaust is it not foolhardy to say that our country, which has rarely been associated with high quality and openness, is better prepared? Are the advocates of nuclear power ready to put their names as guarantors of safety in each of our nuclear power plants?
Has no one told you that the post independence history reveals that the tall claims of nuclear power additions in our country have turned out to be just false claims? Even before a single unit of nuclear electricity was produced in the country, by 1969 the AEC predicted that by 2000 there would be 43,500 MW of nuclear generating capacity. As of now the total nuclear capacity is only 4,700 MW. For such a meager share of our power production capacity, shall our society be condemned to face nuclear holocausts just to prop up the nuclear establishment? Your statement seems to support the business interests of French, Russian and American nuclear industries at the cost of overall welfare of our people. It is better to remember that about 44% of the people in our country, who have no access to electricity even after 64 years of massive investments, would rather prefer not to have electricity as compared to the option of multiple crises of a nuclear accident.
You may like to remember that the people of this country are most likely to blame your ministry for the huge consequences of any nuclear accidents.
You seem to be a victim of the wrong propaganda that nuclear power will lead to the overall reduction of GHG emissions. Increased use of nuclear power did not really reduce Japan's emission levels. Between 1965 to 1995 Japan's nuclear power capacity went from zero to over 40,000 MW. During the same period its CO 2 emissions increased from about 400 million tons to about 1,200 million tons. What is needed to reduce the overall GHG emissions is to resolutely move away from the Western life style of heavy energy consumption and consumerism. MoEF's license to start hundreds of industries, conventional power plants, mining, airports etc. will only increase the GHG emissions.
Has your Ministry ever considered the true cost to the society of nuclear power? Have the costs of mining and processing Uranium ore, and the GHGs associated with the industry right from stage of mining, transporting, processing, cooling of reactors, and then for thousands of years in the process of waste management been taken into account? Can our farmers, mostly with small holdings, be allowed to face the credible risk of becoming destitute in the case of nuclear radiation contaminating the food /agricultural crops they grow?
The statement attributed to you that “ ….and we imposed 35 conditions for that clearance," w.r.t Jaitapura nuclear power park is hilarious at best. Everyone knows in our country that once this power plant start operating MoEF will never dare to stop such a high profile nuclear power plant even if all these so called conditions are violated.
W.r.t your statement that "As far as safety and radioactive waste management is concerned, it is the responsibility of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board," people of this country can only say that it is irresponsible and complete abrogation of the Ministry's constitutional obligations to protect the environment, and bio-diversity. Has no one brought to your attention that the Bio-diversity Convention has strongly espoused the PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE?
In this context I sincerely hope that MoEF will urgently stop its practice of anti–people and anti-environment policies, and take its constitutional obligations objectively and seriously.
Power Policy Analyst
Mulubagilu, Doorvasapuram Post, Thirthahally
Shimoga District, Karnataka - 577432
Smt. S Malathi,
Government of Tamil Nadu
Chennai -600 009
Subject-Need to Make Tamil Nadu Free of Cancer Causing Asbestos Fibers
Dear Smt. S Malathi,
This is to draw your attention towards the New Delhi Declaration Seeking Elimination of cancer causing all forms of asbestos including chrysotile from India which was adopted and endorsed by eminent scientists and doctors on 24th March, 2011.
This happened at a Round Table which was organized immediately after the conclusion of International Conference on "Emerging Trends in Preventing Occupational Respiratory Diseases and Cancers in Workplace" at Maulana Azad Medical College that expressed grave concern about asbestos related diseases like lung cancer in the national capital. The Declaration is given below for your perusal and immediate consideration.
This is also to draw your attention towards the criticism of Shri S.Bharathi Dasan, Secretary, ARULAGAM, Thongum Thottam, Ellappalayam, and Coimbatore regarding your government’s promotion of asbestos based building materials in the aftermath of Kumbakonam tragedy. In a letter to us, he has “strongly condemned this attitude.”
The delegates at the Round Table discussed the asbestos policy of Tamil Nadu. They discussed the fire accident at Kumbakonam in which large number of school children got burnt to death. They expressed their outrage at Tamil Nadu government’s order of replacing Thatched Roof with Asbestos Roof which strongly disapproved. The fire accident did not happen because of thatched roof. It happened because of mismanagement.
The delegates were of the considered opinion that Tamil Nadu government should rescind its order and pursue a path of alternatives of asbestos as a building material.
These delegates shared their views and gave their valuable hand written notes so that it can be used in a credible way while strongly recommending the need for immediate ban on asbestos to Government of India, State Governments and the relevant ministries.
Dr Alec Farquhar, Managing Director, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Canada said, “We now have around 500 asbestos cancer cases every year in Ontario from a population of 13 million. If you (India) continue on your current path, you will multiply our death count by 100 times. That would be 50, 000 Indian workers dying every year from asbestos. In Ontario, we learned that safe use of asbestos is impossible. I urge you from the bottom of my heart, please do not make the same mistake as we made in Canada. Stop using asbestos and use a safe alternative.”
Deeply disturbed by the state of affairs in India with regard to asbestos consumption, Professor Elihu D Richter MD MPH, Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine, Israel said, “All form of asbestos kill. India should bury asbestos, not people. Here is a case for examining whether those countries which export asbestos to India are committing a crime against humanity, because they are engaging in willful neglect. India should not repeat the mistakes of going back some 70 years which will kill tens of thousands of workers and their families.” Richter called on experts in human rights to reframe the carcinogen as a human rights violation to ban asbestos.
“No matter what mis-information comes of Canada or the Indian asbestos industry about Chrysotile, there is no question that science has shown that Chrysotile causes asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. This is the conclusion of World Health Organisation. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, and other organizations that have no biases except for protecting people’s health,” said Prof. Arthur L Frank, PhD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University School of Public Health, US.
Why does Canada apply strict measures domestically to protect the health of Canadians handling asbestos and yet exports asbestos to developing countries such as India, where the capacity to implement and monitor the application of similar precautionary measures is inadequate?, asked Dr. T.K. Joshi, Fellow, Collegium Ramazzini, Italy, an independent, international academy founded in 1982 by Irving J. Selikoff, Cesare Maltoni and other eminent scientists. The academy comprises of 180 internationally renowned experts in the fields of occupational and environmental health. The mission of the Collegium Ramazzini is to advance the study of occupational and environmental health issues and to be a bridge between the world of scientific discovery and the social and political centers which must act on the discoveries of science to protect public health. Notably, Canada avoids using asbestos in it was own country but exports it to India.
Prof (Dr) Qamar Rahman, fellow of National Academy of Sciences, Dean, Integral University, Lucknow & former Deputy Director, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Lucknow asserted, “This is high time that Government of India should ban the use of asbestos in India. It has been proven scientifically that asbestos based articles such as roof ceilings, storage tanks will release fibers. The asbestos fibers will be the cause of exposure to our coming generations.”
“It is well known around the world that asbestos is hazardous to human health, and that there is no such thing as “safe use” of asbestos, just like there is no “safe cigarette”. The government of India would do better to aim for growth through development of safe industries, and to lower the prices of substitutes, rather than promote use of this hazardous substance,” opined Dr Yael Stein, MD, Unit of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Hebrew University, Israel.
Lyle Hargrove, Chairperson, Occupational Clinics for Ontario Workers, Canada said, “I believe that it is real Black mark on my Canada for exporting ASBESTOS to India. We have cities devastated by Asbestos Manufacturing in the sixties and 70s. Workers were dying from Asbestos diseases and others were Sick including people that work in the plants, their family was getting sick as well. I demand that Canada quit exporting Asbestos to India and quit mining in Quebec. Asbestos is too dangerous to work with and I believe there is no safe level.”
The conference was organised by Centre for Occupational Health, New Delhi supported by Union Ministry of Labour & Employment, ESI, DGMS and DGFASL in collaboration with Drexel University, US at Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi from 22-24 March. The conference was deeply concerned about asbestos related diseases and the alarming rise of asbestos in India. The Round Table was organized by Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), which has been working for asbestos free India.
BANI has been campaigning for a asbestos free India and is assisting the Asbestos Mukti Andolan and National Alliance for Asbestos Free India.
In short, we request you to take steps on the following points
• Create a Registry of Incurable Lung Cancers and Mesothelioma besides a registry of asbestos related diseases
• Start efforts to decontaminate asbestos laden buildings including schools and hospitals
• Create a building registry of those buildings and products which have asbestos.
• Include environmental and occupational health study in the medical education of all the 300 medical colleges in the state
• Stop Tamil Nadu Cements Corporation Limited from manufacturing cancer causing asbestos based products
• Adequately compensate the victims of asbestos-related diseases, create a database of asbestos exposed people and victims as well besides providing legal and possible medical relief and taking preventive measures
We would be quite happy to share more details about the asbestos related incurable diseases.
Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)
National Alliance for Asbestos Free India (NAAFI)
Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480
New Delhi Declaration
Seeking Elimination of all forms of Asbestos including Chrysotile from India
Date: 24 March, 2011
Recalling the Ban Asbestos Resolution of 2002, WHO Resolution of 2005 and ILO Resolution of 2006 seeking elimination of future use of asbestos of all forms, in the face of massive asbestos exposure underway in India;
Taking note of The White Asbestos (Ban on Use and Import) Bill, 2009 introduced in Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament) and the order of the Kerala State Human Rights Commission banning the use of asbestos in schools;
Considering the anti asbestos movement against 12 proposed asbestos plants in Bihar in face of massive people’s resistance;
Outraged at the Union of India’s Budget 2011-12’s callous reference to asbestos by including it under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to cover ‘unorganized sector workers in hazardous mining and associated industries like asbestos etc’ and on the other hand Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister’s Budget is allocating land for 4 new asbestos plants;
Recognising the fact that enviro-occupational health infrastructure in India is weak or non-existent in the face of workers and consumers who are sick and dying from asbestos-caused cancer and other related diseases;
Endorsing The STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS of The White Asbestos (Ban on Use and Import) Bill, 2009 introduced in the Indian Parliament that reads: “The white asbestos is highly carcinogenic even the World Health Organisation has reported that it causes cancer. It is a rare fibrous material that is used to make rooftops (roofing material) and break (brake) linings. More than fifty countries have already banned the use and import of white asbestos. Even the countries that export it to India prefer not to use it domestically. But in our country, it is imported without any restriction. Canada and Russia are the biggest exporters of white asbestos. In 2007, Canada exported almost Ninety five percent of the white asbestos it mined and out of it forty-three percent was shipped to India. It is quite surprising that our country is openly importing huge quantity of a product, which causes cancer. This is despite the fact that safer and almost cheap alternatives to asbestos are available in the country. Instead of importing a hazardous material, it will be better if we spend some money in research and development and use environment friendly product. In view of the above, there is an urgent need for a total ban on the import and use of white asbestos and promote the use of alternative material.”
Appreciating Supreme Court of India’s order of 21st January, 2011 that takes cognizance of the above mentioned Bill and the resolutions of ILO and WHO and seeks government to take immediate preventive steps;
Taking cognizance of the human rights violation involved in exposing people to killer asbestos fibers and how even if few asbestos fibre reach the right places, it causes irreversible damage leading to asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma;
Considering Government of India’s role in preventing the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous product under the Rotterdam Convention, an International Agreement that requires that importing countries be warned of the risks associated with hazardous products is unbecoming of a nation of India’s stature. It is unconscionable that the government knowingly allows trades in a killer product that will cause death of hundreds of thousands of people in India in general and in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Bihar and Rajasthan in particular and elsewhere in the world;
Reminding the Government of India that there is incontrovertible evidence that creates a compelling logic for making India asbestos free;
Condemning the asbestos exporting countries liaison with the Indian asbestos industry to which Government is turning a blind eye who have unleashed a misinformation campaign about controlled use of asbestos products which is a fantasy;
Disapproving Ministry of Environment & Forests Experts Appraisal Committee on Industry for approving environmental clearance of asbestos plants;
Asserting the fact that so far some 55 countries have banned all forms of asbestos, and are already using alternative materials;
Underlining that almost every international health agency of repute including the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the American Cancer Society agree there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Most recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reconfirmed that all commercial asbestos fibers - including chrysotile, the most commercially used form of asbestos - cause lung cancer and mesothelioma. In addition, IARC newly confirmed that there is sufficient evidence that asbestos causes ovarian cancer and reconfirmed asbestos causes laryngeal cancer;
We urge the Government to adequately compensate the victims of asbestos-related diseases, create a database of asbestos exposed people and victims as well besides providing legal and possible medical relief and taking preventive measures. We call on the government to create a mesothelioma registry and a building registry of those facilities which have asbestos. We seek inclusion of environmental and occupational health study in the medical education of all the 300 medical colleges in India
We recommend that the Government should start efforts to decontaminate asbestos laden buildings including schools and hospitals
We express shock at the instance countries like Canada using tax-payers money and Canadian embassies to actively promote the sale of asbestos around the world;
We appeal to the Government of India to put a ban on export, import, manufacturing, use and mining of all forms of asbestos including chrysotile (white) in India.
We call upon the Government of India, State Governments in general and Bihar Government in Particular besides Indian Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Ministry of Mines to initiate steps for an immediate ban on use, manufacture and trade of all forms of asbestos (including Chrysotile or White Asbestos).
Prof (Dr) Arthur Frank, Professor, Chair: Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University School of Public Health, US, Email- firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Aleck Farquhar, Managing Director, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Canada, E-mail- email@example.com
Professor Elihu D Richter MD MPH, Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine, Israel, Efirstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Yael Stein, MD, Unit of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Hebrew University, Israel, E-mail- email@example.com
Dr Lyle Hargrove, Chairperson, Occupational Clinics for Ontario Workers, Canada, E-mail- firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof (Dr) Qamar Rahman, Fellow, National Academy of Sciences, India & former Deputy Director, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Lucknow E-mail- email@example.com
Dr. T.K. Joshi, Fellow, Collegium Ramazzini, Italy, E-mail- firstname.lastname@example.org
Filmmaker and Activist
Before enacting the law on “Nuclear Accident Liability Bill” , Government of India should consider the following issues
1. The term Nuclear Accident must include the damages caused due to radiation leak affecting the employees in the nuclear facility , the people living near the facility & people affected by the effluents , scraps generated by the nuclear facility.
2. The government of India does not have any right to fix a price tag for the lives of Indians , that too cheaper than US public.
3. The Nuclear power generating companies must incorporate safety infrastructure & procedures as they do in US market , not any obsolete technology.
4. In USA & other developing countries , they have very huge , efficient social security network , vast pool of resources put in by nuclear power generating companies themselves , to take care of the affected in case of a nuclear accident . In India we don’t have that type of social security network nor matching resources , therefore ideally India must fix a nuclear liability cap much higher than US market in dollar terms.
5. Also the company must be made liable for the complete clean up of the facility & surrounding towns , villages , health care to all the affected victims on par with US market , in case a nuclear accident happens.
6. The Nuclear Equipment Suppliers , Nuclear Plant Operators together with their respective governments like USA , UK must stand as guarantors .
7. The Life Insurance Companies in India Must pay insured amount to nominees of insured in case of nuclear accidents / radiation affects in addition to compensation by the nuclear power companies . as of now many life insurance companies are not covering nuclear accidents / radiation affects.
Neither our MPs , Cabinet ministers nor IAS babus have the right to decide the fate of common people & fix a rate for lives of Indians. They are not experts in this field , they should not conclude any deals , decisions in a hush hush manner . Many scams have come out of hush hush deals . Nobody , no MP , no minister , no IAS officer has paid from his personal pocket to the victims of industrial disasters , etc. After all MPs , Ministers , IAS babus are public servants , they must just represent the voices of people , we people don’t want their personal expertise & opinions. Our Policy makers must heed to the public advice of senior scientists , experts in the field of nuclear power generation .
Ofcourse , as a result unit price of electricity will get front loaded , we may not get cheap electricity . but the lives of Indians are much valuable than Electricty. The person who benefits from cheap electricity – Industrialists does not pay from his pocket to the victims of disasters . Development not at the cost of safety & lives of common people. This must dawn on our ill informed policy makers at the earliest .
Letter To NHRC On Nuclear Liability For IAEA's Treaty
By Gopal Krishna
Justice Shri K.G. Balakrishnan
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi
Sub: Human rights violations from nuclear damage - its impact on human life and enviro-occupational health
This Hon’ble Commission has been seriously pursuing the problem of “enviro-occupational health”, and has been taking “preventive” as well as “remedial” measures. It is humbly brought to your notice that there is another equally serious enviro-occupational hazard which is exposure from radioactive radiations and wastes. The issue of liability for nuclear damage is directly linked to it. The grave problem of diseases caused to present and future generations by radiation exposures is required to be addressed as it affects environment and human health and violates Article 21 of the Constitution, Directive Principles as well as “human rights” as defined under the UDHR, ICCPR and ICESCR.
2. That at the outset, the Applicant wishes to refer to the problem of exposure from radioactive radiations. The Supreme Court has looked at the entire issue, keeping in view the Directive Principles as well as Article 21 of the Constitution, and held that “life” includes right to health and medical care etc. There is no database on the records of the Government to show, to the best of Applicant’s knowledge, as to what actions the Government has taken, namely, how many persons have been reported to be suffering from exposure to radioactive radiation? How many have died? Did they receive any compensation? How many persons suffering from it are receiving treatment?
3. That the Applicant is an environmental health researcher who was invited to make submissions before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests following a written submission on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 which is meant to pave the way for India to sign International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) for Nuclear Damage, 1997.
4. That in its 25 page report on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests which was tabled in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on 18th August, 2010.observes, “When the Committee inquired from the Secretaries of Ministries/Departments of Government of India who appeared before the Committee as to whether the draft nuclear liability Bill was referred to them for their views/comments, some of them viz. Ministries of Health & Family Welfare, Agriculture, Labour & Employment, Food & Public Distribution, etc. replied in the negative. The Committee is of the opinion that Government must have sought the opinion of Ministries which are even distantly related to any provision of the legislation. The Committee, therefore, recommends that in future Government should consult all such Ministries/ Departments which are even remotely concerned with the provisions of a proposed legislation.” This Hon’ble Commission may take cognizance of the submissions of these Secretaries and direct the concerned authorities to internalize their suggestions in the text of the Bill to protect the human rights of Indian citizens and safeguard intergenerational equity.
5. That, in view of the facts mentioned above, the applicant humbly submits that the Hon’ble Commission may kindly initiate appropriate proceedings and issue directions to all the concerned Secretaries of the Central Government and relevant States/UTs with regard to the following :
How would they respond in the event of a nuclear disaster?
Do they know as to how many industries/factories exist in the States/UTs where radioactive material is used? Is there an inventory of products wherein the said material is used?
What is the total number of workers employed in the nuclear power industries and other nuclear installations?
Whether there is regular medical check-up and whether medical facilities exist for workers and communities in the vicinity of nuclear installations?
Whether there is any record of persons who died because of radioactive radiation?
How many persons suffer from radioactive radiation and whether they are receiving regular treatment for the said disease?
What steps States/UTs have taken to check/prevent occurrence of radioactive radiations and how many hospitals dealing with the enviro-occupational diseases exist in the States/UTs.
How many institutions in the country have the competence to decontaminate and how many medical, occupational health and scientific institutions can diagnose radiation exposure?
What action has been taken by the central government and the State Governments/UTs have taken to protect exposure from radiation in the future?
6. That it is submitted that this Hon’ble Commission for the purpose of collecting the above information, may also take the benefit of its experience in the case of enviro- occupational diseases which are preventable but incurable. By giving medicines, impact of radioactive radiation can be reduced and life span can be prolonged but ultimately fate of the affected person is painful death. A brief note on the issue of liability from nuclear damage and the submissions of the concerned Secretaries of the central government is enclosed as Annexure A
7. That the applicant wishes to bring to this Hon’ble Commission’s notice that India has ratified Radiation Protection Convention, 1960 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) but its provisions have not been complied with. India is yet to ratify ILO’s Occupational Cancer Convention, 1974 which is concerning Prevention and Control of Occupational Hazards caused by Carcinogenic Substances and Agents took cognizance of the Radiation Protection Convention and Radiation Protection Recommendation. It refers to the work done by International Agency for Research on Cancer and The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) that provides guidance on all aspects of protection against ionising radiation. Article 6 of the ILO's Radiation Protection Convention with regard to “Maximum permissible doses of ionising radiations which may be received from sources external to or internal to the body and maximum permissible amounts of radioactive substances which can be taken into the body” has been ignored. Article 7 of the Convention calls for “Appropriate levels” be fixed in accordance with Article 6 for workers who are directly engaged in radiation work and are (a) aged 18 and over; (b) under the age of 18, No worker under the age of 16 to be engaged in work involving ionising radiations and Article 8 that seeks “Appropriate levels (to be) fixed in accordance with Article 6 for workers who are not directly engaged in radiation work, but who remain or pass where they may be exposed to ionising radiations or radioactive substances.” Drafters of the Nuclear Liability Bill appear to have ignored their recommendations.
8. It is humbly prayed that this Hon’ble Commission may enquire /investigate into the problem of radioactive radiation and issue necessary directions/recommendation for its prevention and appropriate remedial steps to the Central Government/State Governments and UTs.
- Government officials murdering innocents in league with greedy
In india, & many other 3rd world countries , the larger corporations ,
MNCs & industry lobby is literally running the governments. They are
grossly abusing human rights of people. Hereby, HRW calls upon GOI to
rein in those corporations. It is not the first time that , the
harmful effects of colas - food beverages are made public. The
government is aiding the cola companies in covering-up their crimes ,
in hiding harmful ingradients of their products in the name of trade
secrets. The government is yet to enact a new food legislation making
it mandatory for all manufacturers of food items to specifgically
mention the type & quantity of ingradients on each food product.
Even , under the present food Act itself the government officials can
ban the harmful colas & other products in the interest of public
health & lives. Then how will they get kickbacks ?
The cola companies are so cunning & ruthless that they have used
muscle power - rowdies , corrupt police personnel & assaulted harmless
peaceful protestors. The cola companies have purchased justice
previously in kerala & got favourable judgement. Due to presence of
cola companies , under water table has depleted in surrounding
villages. The farmers are unable to grow their crops & are committing
suicides. One of the senior executive of a cola company - BEJOIS ,
MADE MURDER THREATS , FIX-UPS IN FALSE CASES TO EDITOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS
WATCH'S and even made false complaint to police , but repeatedly
failed to turn-up for enquiry fearing that truth will come out. The
police closed the case subsequently.
In India , many medicines / drugs manufacturing companies are silently
murdering thousands of innocent patients. Some of these companies are
manufacturing counterfeit drugs of popular brands. Some MNCs , big
drug companies are in cheating business , they are just filling chalk
powder in tablets where as on the outer cover they mention ingradients
& quantities of it which are not at all their in the product. The
patients who are taking these chalk powder tablets , hoping that they
will get cured of diseases are dying due to lack of proper medication.
These greedy , cheating drug companies are also exporting these
counterfeit drugs to many third world countries like Nigeria. The
drugs controller of Nigeria has caught hold of evidences about these
illegal drugs & their import from India. These companies with the aid
of mafia even tried to finish her off. The GOI is yet to take action
on her complaint. Silence of GOI bought for a price by drug companies.
Just a few months back , there was a programme called "bad medicine"
on BBC channel , where in the drugs controller for Nigeria proved
that 95% of drugs in nigeria are fake & 80% of them are being exported
from india. These indian fake medicines are killing hundreds of
innocents in nigeria & she is crusading to control to control it. She
has survived murder attempts by the pharma drugs mafia linked to
india. She came over to india along with BBC correspondent & under-
cover they went to greedy industrialists. The said industrialists-
FAKE SPECIALISTS boasted how they fake the holograms , labels of big
MNCs , how they add chalk powder , paracetamol to all tablets , how
they gifted imported car to a chief minister in return for protecting
their crimes fake businesses , etc. At the end, the drugs controller
for india , refused to give an interview, EVEN TO MEET the BBC
correspondent, fearing that all his beans will spill out. just 2 years
back in karnataka, honourable lokayukta justice N.Venkatachala raided
companies & drugs control department officials and unearthed a huge
scam of Rs.200 crore of fake medicines. However the government didn't
take any action as politicians were also part of the ring & threw the
report on a back burner.
In india, how many are dying due to fake medicines - the corrupt
officials are covering the numbers & shielding the murderers the
greedy industrialists. Previously HRW has appealed to government
authorities including supreme court of India , but to no avail. It is
a sad pointer to the grim fact that in India there is no value for
human lives & the long
arm of corruption has even reached the apex court.
COCA-COLA , PEPSI COLA & OTHER SOFT DRINK MANUFACTURERS
-Are you disclosing full information to the consumers about contents
of your products ?
various soft drink manufacturers & bottled drinking water
manufacturers draw their raw material- water from the tube wells .
nowadays due to excessive usage of chemical fertilizers , pesticide ,
insecticides , the ground water table is polluted by these chemicals .
these are very harmful for human beings. In some areas even the ground
water is poisoned by arsenic & flouride . In addition the soft drink
manufacturers use chemical flavours , food additives & preservatives
in their products . these are also harmful to human beings above
Some of the MNCs are practicing double standards , while in their home
operations in the U.S.A they are strictly adhering to F.D.A norms as
consumer safety is strictly enforced there by the government , while
in India they have thrown to wind the consumer safety with respect to
indian operations. The situation is so worse that it has been reported
in the media that SOME FARMERS ARE USING THESE SOFT DRINKS AS
PESTICIDES IN THEIR FARMS. Hereby, i want following questions answered
by soft drink
manufacturers specifically coca-cola & pepsi,
1.how you are removing the harmful chemicals from the tube well water
ie your raw material ?
2.how you are ensuring the proper mixture of food additives ,
preservatives & flavours within safe limits ?
3.why not you are giving the exact quantity of all contents in the
soft drink of your's on the product itself ?
4. are you exactly replicating your manufacturing & quality norms of
your U.S.A operations in india ? if not why ?
5.are you strictly adhering to food norms of government of india ?
6. are you keeping the F.D.A NORMS OF U.S.A as benchmark for your
operations in india ?
7. are you ready for the laboratory test of your product randomly
selected by the consumer ?
8. Are they using genetically modified food ingredients ?
9. are they using ingredients sourced from animal origins ?.
The living dead
January 2004 - Welcome to Kerala-God’s own country. That is how toursists worldwide know it. But, sometimes, names can be really misleading. Take for instance, this area in Kasaragod district in the picture postcard state. It is called Swarga. In Hindi and Malayalam, Swarga means Heaven. Nothing could be more ironical. This is no heaven. Those who live here and in hamlets around the cashew plantations in the state feel they have died many deaths. Swarga is plagued by disease and tragedy.
For 26 long years, the government-owned Plantation Corporation of Kerala aerially sprayed endosulfan in an area of nearly 4,700 acres in Kasaragod. Endosulfan is a deadly pesticide banned in many parts of the world. The United States Environmental Protection Agency classifies Endosulphan as a highly hazardous pesticide. But in Kerala it was sprayed for years in government-owned plantations. Today, villagers who lived close to the plantation are paying the price, despite an indefinite ban on the substance. Many of them got paralyzed or are seriously ill. Swarga and other areas like Padre, Muliyar and Bellur in Kasaragod district of Kerala have become living examples of how the poison in pesticides could be lethal to our health when used excessively and carelessly. The area is dotted with tragedy struck families battling physical deformities, cancers and disorders of the central nervous system.
Dr. Mohana Kumar, a general practioner in Padre was among the first to notice that something was seriously wrong with the health of the people in the area. When he started his medical practice there in 1982, he saw the peculiarity. There was a abnormally high incidence of diseases of the central nervous system, psychiatric problems, mental retardation, cerebral and genetical abnormalities and cancer. He started talking about it where ever he went.
As the tragedy of the victims got media exposure - (eds. note: India Together carried an online petition calling for the ban in 2000-2001) - the Indian Council of Medical Research asked the National Institute of Occupational Health to study the effects of Endosulfan exposure on school children in Vaninagar. The study showed children had congenital abnormalities. Male children suffered from delayed sexual maturity while female children matured early. Another study by the Kerala’s health department also found cases of congenital abnormalities, mental retardation, cancer and infertility in areas where the aerial spraying was done. Endosulfan was also found in the blood samples of children.
Says Trivandrum based Dr. P.K. Sivaraman, additional director, Public Health, Kerala: “There were no guidelines followed when the spraying was done. People were exposed to the chemical all through the year as it leeched into the soil and was washed into drinking water streams.”
The pesticide industry was quick to rubbish these studies saying that endosulfan had nothing to do with the health problems, although there was no other pesticide used there in such large quantities. Nonetheless, seeing so many medical complications in areas where spraying was done, the Muliyar Village Panchayat which is the local self-governing body, banned the use or sale of pesticides. Says an angry Mohammed Kunhi, chairman, Standing Committee, Muliyar Gram Panchayat: “We do not use pesticides to grow cashew. But only the Plantation Corporation of Kerala is spraying it. In the last two years they could not spray it because of our agitation. And, the yield of cashew has increased! Only the officials of the corporation have benefited along with the pesticide companies.”
Mohammed Kunhi remembers how he and his classmates used to run out of their classrooms when they heard the sound of the helicopter that was spraying endosulfan. The spray would settle on their hair and shine in the sun and they would all laugh. “I shudder to think of it now. We used to go and welcome the helicopter pilots and treat them like heroes. We were actually inviting death and disease,” he says with a shudder.
Shree Padre, a journalist and farmer in Padre says that the pesiticide industry must be made to pay compensation to the victims and the government officials who aided the pesticide industry in pumping so much of pesticide in the area must be punished. Cashew is grown without pesticides all over Kerala, he says, without any pesticides. But the government run plantation invested millions of rupees of public money in spraying the deadly pesticide. “All those who have suffered by this poisoning are martyrs to the cause of stopping the use of poison in farming,” says Shree Padre.
As the media in Kerala is very alert, the Plantation Corporation has not been able to use endosulfan in the cashew plantations. The ban is on aerial spraying only. But there have been reports from villagers around that a new pesticide called Round Up is now being used. Television channels in Kerala run stories on the endosulfan tragedy almost every month. But there is a fear in Kerala among the villagers and activists that the ban can be lifted anytime. Indian activists have tried to raise the endosulfan ban issue at various national and international fora, but with little success.
Endosulfan is still being used in various parts of India in Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. It is used for cotton and tea. But communities are not clear about the danger ahead.
"Most farmers get advice from the pesticide dealer on which pesticide to use, as the agriculture extension worker network has failed," says Jalapati Rao, Principal Scientist at the Agriculture Research Station at Warangal. Bixapathy Karne, a cotton farmer from Thirajpalli village in Warangal district lies in a special ward created for pesticide poisoning victims at the Civil Hospital in Warangal. His wife, Kala, sits holding his hand on the hospital bed with a worried look on her face. Her husband was spraying endosulfan at his one and a half acre paddy field for three hours at a stretch. He then started vomitting and then fell unconcious.
But how long will the ban last? A month ago, the government said in parliament that it did not find that endosulfan was responsible for the health complications that were visible in Kasaragod. All the studies that showed that it did were conveniently swept away. Kasaragod's tragedy has shown once more that India badly needs a pesticide policy that is drawn by health experts and not the pesticide industry that today has tremendous clout in ensuring that harmful pesticides continue to mint money in India. ⊕
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