24 March 2011

CPI(M) Double Standards: No To Jaitapur, Yes To Haripur?

Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity welcomes the CPI(M)’s unequivocal opposition to the proposed Jaitapur nuclear plant and asks for a similar stand on the plans for a nuclear park in Haripur. We demand from the CPI(M) a statement that says that they do not want to put lives of the people of South Bengal and the livelihoods of the people of Haripur at risk with a nuclear plant in a seaside area where the risk of a tsunami is there and which falls within Zone IV of seismic activity. (http://downtoearth.org.in/dte/userfiles/images/Earth_quake_map.jpg.) We demand that the rejection of the Haripur nuclear plant be made part of the Left Front manifesto.
On March 12th 2011, Suhashini Ali, ex- MP and renowned trade union leader from Uttar Pradesh and Khagen Das , MP from Tripura went as a members of a two member CPI(M) delegation to visit Jaitapur. A report of their visit has appeared in the People’s Democracy dated March 20, 2011. (http://pd.cpim.org/2011/0320_pd/03202011_13.html)
Not surprisingly, their report echoes our experiences in Nandigram, Singur and Haripur. We quote below :-
“People are not opposed to development. They said – there is not a single college or hospital in this area. We would contribute to the government building colleges, universities and hospitals but there is no talk of these things. They are opposed to a project that they know, despite all the lies and prevarications that the government is resorting to, will displace them and destroy their livelihoods.”
“The ‘affected’ areas that we visited are extremely prosperous. The farmers and fisherfolk produce the best mangoes and also the best fish and sea food in the region. They are responsible for exports running into crores every year. They employ more than 12,000 migrant workers all year round and their villages exude prosperity and hard work. The landscape around is lush and the waters sparkle. The attachment of the people to their land and to their professions is extremely strong and it is this that explains their determined resistance and willingness to sacrifice. “
“Majid Gowalkar told us, “ I employ 11 people. The government says that they will give us jobs after the project comes. But we are already giving more than 10,000 people from outside work at 250-300 rupees a day. And we are feeding our own families. So why should we accept ruination and then beg for jobs that we will never get.”
“Only 112 persons (out of 2000) who owned only 2 per cent of the total land in Mithgavane have accepted compensation from the state government. None of them reside in the area. Even after minister Narayan Rane announced an enhanced compensation of 10 lakh rupees per acre, not a single person has come forward to accept it.”
“No gathering of more than five people was permitted in the affected area and that, not only would two policemen accompany us throughout our visit but police and administrative officers would be keeping a close watch on our movements to ensure that the prohibitory orders were complied with!”
“The government has responded with repression, arrests, unaffordable bail bonds, threats and externment orders that are being processed.”
“An order(has been given to an activist) by the district collector by sms, informing him that his presence in the district had been banned for a week”;
The report at the end states clearly the demands of this two member team
“1) Cancel the Jaitapur Nuclear Project, 2) Return the lands which have been forcibly acquired and 3) Withdraw all police cases filed against the movement activists and also the ban orders and create a suitable environment for dialogue.”
Dr Anil Sadagopal, eminent educationist and scientist, as a response to the report has asked the CPI(M) three questions, which we give below and which we would like to reiterate:-
1. “Would CPI (M) now endorse your demands and take the Jaitapur people’s battle unflinchingly into the Parliament, insisting on cancellation of the Jaitapur nuclear power plant project irrespective of the Government’s claims of the so-called ‘safety reviews’ and ‘increased’ safety measures?
2. Have the CPI (M)-led governments in West Bengal and Kerala closed the doors of their respective states to moves by the centre to establish nuclear power plants therein? If the answer is in the affirmative, would your party declare this as its continuing stand in the party manifestos in the forthcoming assembly election?
3. Would your party now declare its unambiguous commitment to a national policy of promoting renewable and sustainable energy resources (solar, wind, bio-mass and others) for power production in place of the proposed nuclear power all over the country and raise people’s political consciousness in support of this rational stand?”

No comments:

Post a Comment