celebrating spirit of swaraj in protecting our baingan

celebrating spirit of swaraj in protecting our baingan

Two years ago, on this day the Government of India placed a  moratorium on the introduction of Bt Brinjal in India. The process of public consultation that preceded such a decision was also a rare gesture of deepening a democratic process of decision making on a technological issue. In the process several common sense voices were heard that showed the there-is-no-alternative-to-technology voices for what they were – misplaced, misrepresenting and unnecessary.

This (not so) fictional work captures the essence of this dialogue and in its easy to read mode provides the lay intelligent reader a quick understanding of the different arguments surrounding the GM debate

Engineers held hostage, work on nuclear plant halts

Engineers held hostage, work on nuclear plant halts——

Work on survey of land at Gorakhpur village — the site for Haryana’s first nuclear power plant — came to a halt on Monday after irate villagers held three engineers of a private company hostage for five hours. The situation was finally brought under control after the police rushed to this village in Fatehabad district and assured the villagers that no further survey work will be taken up at the site.

According to sources, the engineers of DBM Geo-technology and Construction Company, working for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, had gone to the village without taking the local administration into confidence. For the last six days, the had been taking soil and water samples from the area.

The fresh crisis is likely to hit the project hard as farmers are not ready to part with their land. Their agitation has also received support from the members of Team Anna and the INLD, which had criticised the government of being pro-capitalist.

According to sources, engineers Parveen Mahajan, Sadanand and Viresh Maurya landed at the village to conduct a survey on Monday. While they were conducting the survey to level the land in the area belonging to farmer Lekhu Ram Sharma, trouble erupted. The farmer contacted other villagers and members of the Parmanoo Virodhi Society, who objected to the survey and confined the engineers in a thatched room in the field.

Fatehabad DSP (Headquarters) Shamsher Dahiya said: “We immediately intervened and the engineers were released after the villagers were assured that no survey will be conducted.”

For the project, the state government had started the process of acquiring 1,100 acres of land. Agitated over apprehensions of radiation leaks and nuclear emissions, owners of more than 200 acres had lodged their protest over the acquisition. One farmer had died during the agitation and villagers sat on a hungerstrike that went on for over a year.

Gorakhpur is the site of 4×700 MW nuclear power plant to be set up by the National Power Corporation of India Ltd. The plant will be developed over 1,000 acres and will consume 50 tonnes of uranium annually at a cost of Rs 12,000 crore.


Human rights situation in India poor

Human rights situation in India poor, says global watch body

The situation is compounded by widespread impunity for abuses

New Delhi:

Human rights issue should be a central part of the discussions at the European Union-India summit on strategic partnership commencing tomorrow in Delhi, Human Rights Watch said today.

The presidents of the European Council and the European Commission should make human rights a central part of their discussions with Indian officials, they said.

“A strategic partnership between the European Union and India should be based on shared respect for human rights,” said Lotte Leicht, European Union (EU) advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

The human rights situation in India is “much poor”, they said.

The rights watch body said successive governments have yet to enact adequate laws or implement policies to protect marginalized communities, particularly Dalits, tribal groups, religious minorities, women, and children.

The government routinely “fails to take action” in cases of serious human rights violations, particularly all forms of sexual assault against women, communal violence, enforced disappearances in conflict areas, extrajudicial killings, torture, and increasing attacks on human rights defenders, they said.

These issues are compounded by the widespread impunity for abuses and the corresponding problems of access to justice and adequate compensation, they said.

The EU should call for repeal of Indian laws that protect public officials from prosecution for violating human rights, effective implementation of policies to ensure social justice, and a commitment to ensure freedom of expression, including on the internet, Human Rights Watch said.

They also called upon the EU to encourage India to use its increasing global influence to address human rights problems in other countries.

“India’s growing regional and global influence should be matched by an increasing commitment to protect human rights abroad,” Leicht said.

Human Rights Watch made a series of recommendations on human rights concerns in a February 3 letter to the European Council president, Herman Van Rompuy, and the European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso.

Source: hrw.org