Updates on SEZ issues

1. CAG Exposes Landscam in Andhra Pradesh: Government largesse to private enterprises and individuals cost exchequer Rs 1,784 crore. Link: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/cag-exposes-land-scam-andhra

2. Green tribunal cancels POSCO’s clearance: The South Korean giant will now have to apply for a fresh environmental clearance. Link: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/green-tribunal-cancels-posco-s-clearance

 

 

Updates on SEZ issues

Link 1. Alumina refinery: Anrak toeing Vedanta line. “They seem to be following the Vedanta way as for its Lanjigarh project. Vedanta has no permission to mine in Niyamgiri hills. Moreover, even if Anrak launches refining, we can’t rule out its closure going by Birla Periclase’s seawater magnesia project, which was shutdown when it could not source its raw material from Agency areas of the district following Samata judgment,” says Samata’s executive director Rebbapragda Ravi.

Link 2. CAG finds grave irregularities in land allotments by YSR govt. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India released a special report prepared on land allotments made in favour of companies and individuals by the Andhra Pradesh government during the 2006-2011 period.

Linik 3. Central Information Commission writes to PM to not to dilute RTI act

Link 4.  SmartCity waits for SEZ Board clearance. KOCHI: The concept master plan of the SmartCity project was approved by the directors’ board the other day in Thiruvananthapuram. The project is now awaiting clearance from the Special Economic Zone Board of Approval for starting construction of buildings.

 

 

 

Updates on Nuclear issues

Link: 1.  Home ministry team raids trust run by Udayakumar

Tirunelveli: A three member union home ministry team on Thursday raided a trust office at Nagercoil run by S P Udayakumar, who is leading the anti-Kudankulam nuclear plant stir on charges of receiving foreign funding.

Link; 2. Primary coolant pumps of first reactor to undergo another trial

Primary coolant pumps of the first reactor of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) will be subjected to another trial run shortly, for checking their functioning, according to the head of the Russian Specialists Group, Yevgeniy N. Dudkin.

Link: 3. Manmohan, Medvedev pledge to scale up civil nuclear ties

New Delhi, March 29 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday held talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on a host of bilateral issues that included scaling up civil nuclear cooperation and enhancing trade ties.

Link: 4. KKNPP will generate power in 2 months: Jaya

hief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday said her government expected power generation to begin in Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project within two months. Presenting an overview of electricity generation projects in Tamil Nadu in a suo moto statement in the State Assembly, she said, “It is expected that KKNPP will start generating electricity in two months.” She also replied to the charge of some members that no new power projects were announced in the Budget for 2012- 13 to end the power shortage. She stated that Tamil Nadu had surplus electricity during her previous regime (2001-06) when 2,518 MW of additional installed capacity was created.

 

 

 

Protest by Kerala Fishermen

Fishermen to form human chain along coastal belt 

KOCHI: Demanding safety for life and employment, fishermen across the state will form a human chain on April 28 along the coastal belt of the state. The agitation is being organised by the organisations in the fisheries sector, voluntary organisations, NGOs and boat owners. The Latin Catholic Church has also offered its support for the agitation. The demands of the fishing community include safety for life and employment, Centere’s intervention for curbing navigation of merchant vessels in the territorial waters of India and strict surveillance of the Navy and Coast Guard along Kerala coast.
“The fishing community is scared after the two recent accidents at sea in which seven hapless fishermen lost lives. In both incidents fishermen were not responsible for the mishap,” said All Kerala Boat Operators’ Assn general secretary Joseph Xavier Kalappurakkal. “Whenever there is an accident in which fishermen are injured or killed, they do not get any relief from the govt. In the recent incidents too, we fear that the victims and their kin will be ignored by the ship owners and the government by the time the legal battle is over,” Joseph said.
He said that the govt should take the initiative to put pressure on the Italian govt or the shipping company to provide compensation for the fishermen shot dead by the marines on board Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie in February.

Courtesy: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/fishermen-to-form-human-chain-along-coastal-belt/243772-60-122.html

Public Statement on Supreme Court order on Inter Linking of Rivers

Public Statement on Supreme Court order on Inter Linking of Rivers

PLEASE PUT THE ORDER ON HOLD AND RECONSIDER 

A number of citizens have made a public statement, expressing serious concern about the Supreme Court’s Order of Feb 27, 2012 on the Interlinking of Rivers Project. The statement endorsed by more than 60 persons has respectfully urged the Supreme Court to put this order on hold and reconsider the matter. 

The statement first states the concerns relating to the propriety of the apex court making this specific order, and then proceeds to state the concerns relating to the Project itself. 

Ramaswamy R. Iyer 

Prashant Bhushan

Manoj Mishra 

Himanshu Thakkar 

Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change… more than two decades now!

Mobile:             +919437050103

You can also mail me at: ranjan.waterman@facebook.com

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Blog: http://www.climatecrusaders.blogspot.com/

Please join our group ‘Save Rivers Save Civilizations’ at http://www.facebook.com/groups/220598744649462

Heated Debate on the next World Bank President

Over the past week, there has been a small revolution in a part of the universe of the elite, and the collective actions of citizen groups deserve some credit for it. Robin Broad and John Cavanagh wrote in YES! Magazine.

A World Bank President We Can Get Behind?

The candidates for next month’s selection could finally change the game of serving markets over people—and we all might have a role to play. by Robin BroadJohn Cavanagh

 

The (very unpopular) Nigerian finance minister who wants to be President of the World Bank

The (very unpopular) Nigerian finance minister who wants to be President of the World Bank

Courtesy: http://africasacountry.com/2012/03/27/the-nigerian-who-would-be-president-of-the-world-bank/

MARCH 27, 2012 BY  1 COMMENT

Yesterday the African Union added their backing to Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s run at becoming World Bank President. She announced her candidacy on Friday, just hours before Obama told everyone he’d picked South Korean-born rapper Jim Kim (now backed by Paul Kagame). But how do Nigerians look at this? Some are puzzled by the government’s silence, and local media reports that Ali Mazrui wrote to President Jonathan urging him to offer louder and stronger support to Okonjo-Iweala’s campaign.

There are also those who would be pleased to see her get the job simply so that Nigeria could be rid of her. Dubbed “Okonjo-Wahala” (wahala means “trouble”) and accused by opponents of acting as an agent for global financial instutions, she was widely seen as the instigator of the removal of the fuel subsidy in January that led to the eruption of the Occupy Nigeria movement (when she became very grumpy indeed, took to twitter and got a bit of a kicking). The poet Odia Ofeimun says she wouldn’t have had to return to Nigeria if she’d been able to finish the job of ruining the economy first-time around when she worked for Obasanjo.

It’s great that a Nigerian woman is in the running for such a prominent job, and I’d pick her over Jeff “Yawn” Sachs and crooked Larry Summers any day. But it’s pretty hard to get enthusiastic about an anti-corruption politician who hates anti-corruption campaigns so much and seem to distrust poor people so much.

What has also gone undiscussed is the fact that Okonjo-Iweala was put forward by a bloc of African “superpowers” comprising Nigeria, South Africa and Angola, which isn’t really such an obvious grouping when you think about it. Sure, they’re all considered “emerging African economies” but they’re also fierce competitors. Has this triumvirate made international diplomatic moves like this before or is this a new thing? What other issues might bring these three together in future? Do the three countries’ interests actually line up behind Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy or is this part of a longer-term powerplay to tip southwards some of the power vested in global financial institutions?

So what’s the verdict, people? See you in the comments.

Koodankulam Protest update: Protesters Demand revoking of cases against villagers

Dear All,
Following talks with the DM of the Thirunelveli, PMANE Convener S P Udaykumar and others have decided to end their fast after the district administration agreed to withdraw cases against villagers and also life Section 144. The agitation at Idinthikarai will continue though. (See the detail demand below.)

Hearing the news and after consultation with others, Sandeep Pandey has also decided to withdraw on third day of his solidarity fast, tomorrow, March 28th at 11am at Jantar Mantar, Delhi. Do join !

“DEMANDS OF THE PROTESTING PEOPLE”

1. The cases filed against Struggle Committee members and other people must be unconditionally revoked. The people who have been imprisoned in connection with this struggle should be released from the prisons with no conditions attached.

Notwithstanding that Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant is a Central Government undertaking, it is a fact that it is set up within Tamilnadu. Therefore, keeping in mind the safety and livelihood concerns of the people of Tamil Nadu, the Government of Tamilnadu has an immense responsibility to act on behalf of the people of Tamilnadu to make all efforts to ensure that the Central Government fulfills all its duties. On this basis, we request the Government of Tamilnadu to emphasise the following facts and actions to the Central Government.

2. The Government must assure that an independent team of experts will study the hydrology, oceanography and geology of the site and surrounding areas.

3. The secret  Agreement between the Government of India or the Atomic Energy Commission with the Russian company on the nuclear disaster liability must be made public. This is an important document that concerns the future of the people of Tamilnadu. We request that a copy of the same be provided to us as well.

4. The Tamilnadu Government should ensure that the Central Government implements the rule regarding emergency/disaster management training, as well as evacuation training for the people living within 30 km radius.

5. The Tamilnadu Government should ensure that full details about the nuclear waste management is made public by the Central Government.

6. Even as the struggle committee members give their word that they will not blockade the nuclear power plant or resort to any violent tactics for any reason, it is requested of the Government that we be allowed to voice our concerns and dissent in a democratic and non-violent manner, without disruption of law and order.

7. If these demands are accepted, we are prepared to end this phase of our struggle.

To emphasise these demands, we hereby appoint a team of four persons headed by Thiru Arimavalan on behalf of the people and the struggle committee.

Thiru. Arimavalavan. Age 47, S/o Mohan. Village Uvari
Thiru Pandi, s/o Thiru Velayutham. Village Koodankulam
Thirumathi Sundari, w/o Benton, Village Idinthakarai
Thiru Joseph, s/o Anthony Thommai, Village Koothankuzhi
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy

NEW-BUILD NUCLEAR POWER: A HIGH-RISK GAMBLE

Courtesy: http://oneworldgroup.org/2012/03/27/new-build-nuclear-a-high-risk-gamble/

NEW-BUILD NUCLEAR POWER: A HIGH-RISK GAMBLE

New report says there are five major areas of risk in putting money into new nuclear plants

According to a new report from the Energy Fair group (PDF, bit.ly/zGgbHF), anyone considering investing in new nuclear plants faces five major areas of risk: market risk, cost risk, subsidy risk, political risk and construction risk.

By the time any new nuclear plant could be built in the UK (2020 or later), the market for its electricity will be disappearing, regardless of any possible increase in the overall demand for electricity. The tumbling cost of photovoltaics (PV) and the falling costs of other renewables, with the likely completion of the European internal market for electricity and the strengthening of the European transmission grid, means that consumers, large and small, will be empowered to generate much of their own electricity or to buy it from anywhere in Europe — and this without the need for subsidies.

Explosive growth of PV is likely to take much of the profitable peak-time market for electricity. And there will be stiff competition to fill in the gaps left by PV, from a range of other sources, many of which are better suited to the gap-filling roll than is nuclear power.

There is good evidence that, contrary to the often-repeated claim that nuclear power is cheap, it is one of the most expensive ways of generating electricity. The inflation-adjusted cost of building new nuclear power stations has been on a rising trend for many years, and will be boosted by the introduction of new safety measures after the Fukushima disaster. Meanwhile, the cost of most renewable sources of power is falling.

Although nuclear power is a long-established industry which should be commercially viable without support, it depends heavily on subsidies. This is a clear breach of the principle of fair competition. At any stage, some or all of the subsidies may be withdrawn, either via complaints to the European Commission, or via the European Court of Justice, or via decisions made by politicians.

Energy Fair has already submitted a complaint to the Directorate General for Competition of the EC about subsidies for nuclear power. State aid which is deemed to be illegal must be repaid. Consumers may refuse to pay surcharges on electricity bills. There is additional subsidy-related risk arising from the great complexity of government proposals in this area, with its potential for unexpected and unintended consequences.

Apart from the risk that politicians may decide to withdraw some or all of the subsidies for nuclear power, it is vulnerable to political action arising from events like the nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima. That disaster led to a sharp global shift in public opinion against nuclear power and it led to decisions by politicians to close down nuclear power stations and to accelerate the roll-out of alternative sources of power.

The next nuclear disaster — and the world has been averaging one such disaster every 11 years — is likely to lead to even more decisive actions by politicians, perhaps including the closing down of nuclear plants that are still under construction or are relatively new.

The delays and cost overruns in the Olkiluoto and Flamanville nuclear projects are just recent examples of nuclear projects where actual build times and actual costs greatly exceed what was estimated at the outset. But the extraordinary complexity of nuclear power stations — which is likely to increase, after Fukushima, with the added complexity of new safety systems — means that construction risk will remain a major hazard for investors for the foreseeable future.

In general, renewables can be built much faster than nuclear power stations, they are cheaper than nuclear power (taking account of all subsidies), they provide greater security in energy supplies than nuclear power, they are substantially more effective in cutting emissions of CO2, there are more than enough to meet our needs now and for the foreseeable future, they provide diversity in energy supplies, and they are largely free of the several problems with nuclear power.

The commercial opportunities lie in renewable sources of power. They are growing fast while the numbers of operating nuclear plants in the world is falling. Renewables are, commercially, much less risky than nuclear power.

“Energy Fair has provided an excellent review of the risks facing investors in new nuclear plants.” said Ivan Kotev, an analyst with the consultancy firm Candole Partners. “The accessible language, the abundant bibliographical evidence, and current examples make the report important reading not only for investors and policy-makers worldwide, but for all stakeholders concerned with nuclear energy. The report makes the already questionable economics of new nuclear plants appear even less convincing.”

“This is an excellent piece of work” said Tom Burke CBE, Founding Director of the campaigning group E3G. “It is essential reading for anyone considering putting money into new nuclear power stations. The downside of any such investment is much greater than any possible upside and contrasts starkly with the huge opportunities that are opening up in renewable sources of power.”

————————————————————————————————————-

NOTES
1 The report from Energy Fair, called “The financial risks of investing in new nuclear power plants” may be downloaded as a PDF file from bit.ly/zGgbHF. Updated versions of the report may be downloaded via bit.ly/yLM7y4 .

2 Research by Energy Fair shows that, in general, renewables can be built much faster than nuclear power stations, they are cheaper than nuclear power (taking account of all subsidies), they provide greater security in energy supplies than nuclear power, they are substantially more effective in cutting emissions of CO2, there are more than enough to meet our needs now and for the foreseeable future, they provide diversity in energy supplies, and they have none of the many problems of nuclear power. For more detail, with links to relevant sources of information, see http://www.energyfair.org.uk/oppcost .

3 Around the world, the average annual growth of wind power in recent years has been more than 27% (bit.ly/A5fWmx) and the annual growth in solar power has been about 30% (bit.ly/zFs1W1). In 2010, the worldwide growth of solar power was an impressive 70% (reut.rs/wWhSoi). Meanwhile, nuclear plants are being shut down.

4 The tumbling cost of PV and the falling cost of other renewables is likely to lead to an explosive growth of PV and substantial growth in clean power from such things as onshore and offshore wind power, combined-heat-and-power (CHP), wave power, power from tidal streams and tidal lagoons, power from biomass, biogas and biomethane, enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), hydropower, and large-scale generation of solar power and wind power in desert regions. Another ‘dash for gas’ (bit.ly/GHu9Mj) may also undermine the market for UK nuclear electricity. Although there may be increases in demand from the electrification of road transport, there are likely to be reductions in demand from super-insulation of buildings and the roll-out of super-efficient LED lighting.

5 It is expected that, by 2020, the long-awaited European internal market for electricity will be completed (bit.ly/x4USEv), a development that the Government supports. It is also expected that bottlenecks in transmission will be eased and the European transmission grid will be stronger (bit.ly/wdqtz1). In general, transmission links can be built quite fast. For example, it took only 18 months to complete the ‘BritNed’ link between the Netherlands and the UK (bit.ly/xrNCew).

6 A formal complaint about subsidies for nuclear power has been made by Energy Fair to the European Commission (DG Competition), see http://www.energyfair.org.uk/actions.

7 Research by the Energy Fair group has identified several existing subsidies for nuclear power and some potential new subsidies. They are summarised in “Forms of support for nuclear power” (PDF, bit.ly/zYGR2Q) and described more fully in the following two documents, each with an executive summary:

* “Subsidies for nuclear power in the UK government’s proposals for electricity market reform” (PDF, bit.ly/zrgCQ9). Mainly about proposed new subsidies.

* “Nuclear Subsidies” (PDF, bit.ly/yn1T9s). Mainly about existing subsidies.

8 An Arabic translation of this news release is here: bit.ly/y5OWK5 (PDF).

 

CONFERENCE India – Pakistan Civil Society Review of Strategic Relations 29 – 31 March 2012

CONFERENCE

India – Pakistan

Civil Society Review of Strategic Relations

29 – 31 March 2012

Convention Hall, India Islamic Cultural Center, 87 – 88, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, India

 

Governments have placed India and Pakistan relations on a see-saw, swinging to concerns other than the need for peace and stability in the region.

Civil society attempts to keep relations on an even keel, have for the most part, remained focused on peace building, with strategic issues left largely to the governments of both countries to resolve. Given the suspicions and distrust, forward movement on this has been at best lethargic calling for a civil society review of progress made on important issues determining relations between the two countries.

As part of its larger program on India and Pakistan, the Centre for Policy Analysis in collaboration with the Heinrich Boll Foundation and Focus on the Global South, is organizing a three day Conference from March 29-31, 2012 in New Delhi to facilitate a civil society review of some major issues such as Afghanistan, Kashmir, Terrorism, Nuclear, Water. We have left out a special session on Economy, although the issue will definitely come up in the discussions, for the purpose of this Conference as there is already a vibrant and healthy dialogue going on between the business communities of India and Pakistan.

Strategic experts from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan will discuss the strategic issues of concern over a period of two days, with active participation from the floor. A political session addressed by key political leaders from India will conclude the Conference on the third day.

The Conference will attempt to put together a consensus reflecting the sense of the House on the issues of strategic importance and make specific recommendations to governments of both India and Pakistan to ground relations in an institutional and meaningful dialogue, with specific time bound actions to move ahead.

Programme Schedule

 

Day 1: Thursday, 29 March 2012

9:30 am Registration and Tea
10:00 – 11:00 am Opening Session Speakers:

  • Mani Shankar Aiyar, Former Minister and Congress Leader, India
  • Aitzaz Ahsan, Pakistani Lawmaker, Barrister and Senior Leader of the Pakistan People’s Party

Chair:

  • S.P.Shukla, Former Finance Secretary,                                                             Trustee, CPA

 

11:00 – 11:15 am Tea
11:15 am – 1:15 pm  Strategic Ties: An Overview Speakers:

  • Talat Masood, Retired General and Defence and Political Analyst, Pakistan.
  • Satish Nambiar,  Former Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Expert on UN Peace keeping Operations, National Security, India.
  • Najmuddin Shaikh, Former Foreign Secretary, Pakistan
  • Rajiv Sikri, Former Secretary, Ministry of External  Affairs, India
  • Ayesha Siddiqa, Military Analyst and Commentator, Author, Pakistan

Chair:

 

1:15 – 2:00 pm Lunch
2:00 – 3:30 pm Water (Interactive Session) Speakers:

  • Ramaswamy R. Iyer, Former Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, India
  • Dr. Arshad Hameed Abbasi, Water and Energy Expert, Pakistan
  • Salman Haider, Former Foreign Secretary

Chair:

  • Dr. Axel Harneit-Sievers, Country Director, Heinrich Böll Foundation, India
3:30 – 3:45 pm Tea
3:45 – 6:00 pm Afghanistan (Interactive Session) Speakers:

  • Rahimullah Yusufzai, Senior Journalist and Analyst, Pakistan
  • Maseeh Rehman, Senior Journalist and Analyst, India
  • Waliullah Rahmani, Kabul Strategic Centre, Afghanistan

Chair:

  • Neera Chandhoke, Professor, University of Delhi

 

Day 2: Friday, 30 March 2012

9:30 – 11:15 am Kashmir (Interactive Session)  Speakers:

  • Siddiq Wahid, Former Vice Chancellor, Islamic University, Jammu and Kashmir
  • Ejaz Haider, Executive Director, Jinnah Institute
  • Wajahat Habibullah, Chairman, Minorities Commission, India
  • Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman, All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Jammu and Kashmir

Chair:

  • Seema Mustafa, Journalist and Director, CPA
11:15 – 11:30 am Tea
11:30 am – 12:45 pm Terrorism (Interactive Session)  Speakers:

  • Najmuddin Shaikh, Former Foreign Secretary, Pakistan
  • E N Rammohan, Former Chief of the Border Security Force, India
  • Pervez Hoodbhoy, Professor of Nuclear and High-Energy Physics, Analyst, Pakistan

Chair:

  • Deepak Nayyar, Economist and Former Vice Chancellor, Delhi University, Trustee CPA

 

12:45 – 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm Nuclear (Interactive Session) Speakers:

  • AH Nayyar, Physicist, Pakistan
  • Satish Chandra, Former Deputy National Security Advisor, India
  • Pervez Hoodbhoy, Professor of Nuclear and High-Energy Physics, Pakistan

Chair:

  • Achin Vanaik, Nuclear Expert and Author

 

3:00 – 3:15 pm Tea
3:15 – 5:30 pm Military and Others CBM’S
(Interactive Session)
Speakers:

  • Talat Masood, Retired Army General, Pakistan
  • Salman Haider, Foreign Secretary,  India
  • Ayesha Siddiqa, Author and Military Analyst, Pakistan
  • Ejaz Haider, Executive Director, Jinnah Institute

Chair:

  • Anuradha Chenoy, Professor, JNU, Trustee, CPA

 

Day 3: Saturday, 31 March 2012

10:00 – 12:00 Noon Political Session: The Way Forward Speakers:

  • Aitzaz Ahsan, Pakistani Lawmaker, Barrister
  • Prakash Karat, General Secretary, CPI (M)
  • Engineer Rashid, MLA, Jammu and Kashmir
  • Ram Vilas Paswan, President, Lok Janshakti Party
  • Shahid Siddiqui, Samajwadi Party

For further information: Contact – Seema Mustafa – 011-26525916

Email: Centre for Policy Analysis [cpa.cpadel@gmail.com]