Protest against Kaiga
Peace activists wearing distorted masks and spotting snappy anti-nuclear badges and T-shirts
marched along with their children to Raj Bhavan on November 15th morning, simulating the horrors of a radioactive environment, to oppose the Kaiga Nuclear Plant as well as the ongoing atomic projects in the state of Karnataka.
The marchers belonging to the Citizens Against Nuclear Energy (CANE) dropped flat
every 50 feet on the way – ( they call it ‘rod show’ ) stopping curious pedestrians and motorists.
The silent processionists presented a memorandum to Governor A. N. Banerji urging him to convey to the Centre their “no” to the Kaiga Plant, Ratnahalli Uranium Plant, uranium mining at Arebail and to the reported nuclear waste disposal plant at Kolar Gold Mines.
A “Statement of Public Concern” signed by 60 prominent citizens and expressing serious concern at the “sudden spurt” of nuclear related activities in the State during the past two years was also released on the occasion.
The statement signed among others by Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar, Dr. U. R. Ananthamurthy, Prof. Gopalakrishna Adiga, Dr. Siddaiah Puranik, Dr. Shivaram Karanth, Dr. H. M. Nayak and Dr. G. S. Shivarudrappa. It demanded at least a Moratorium on the Kaiga nuclear plant and the Rs. 350-crore Rare Earth Mineral Plant (REMP) at Ratnahalli near Mysore till an impartial analysis of environmental impact was made, public hearings conducted and a national debate on nuclear energy question held as promised by the Prime Minister.
They also demanded the immediate repeal of the Atomic Energy Act of 1962, release of information pertaining to all nuclear related activities in the State, setting up of an energy
information cell, evolution of methods to expose every MLA and MP to the factual information on energy economics and nuclear truths and making of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board fully autonomous.
Briefing reporters, CANE members Suresh Heblikar, Mr. Nagesh Hegde and Mr. H, S. Doreswamy said the Kaiga plant, besides exposing the forests and the Kali river to radiation,
also involved a security risk with the concentration of large dams and a naval base.
The Rare Earths Plant at Ratnahalli was consuming 66,000 KW of power from the State
grid and one lakh gallons of water from the KRS dam. They maintained that the enriched
uranium produced form the plant would be of no use to any of the reactors in the country.
They accused the Government of casting away the basic tenets of participatory democracy
in keeping the academic scientists and elected representatives off the information on
nuclear planes and indulging in large scale ‘disinformation”.
We strongly recommend our readers to read Arjun Makhijani’s article “Low Level
Radiation and Cancer” which appeared in the October 31st, 1987 issue of Economic and
Political Weekly. A recently published BARC study by K.S.V. Nambi and S. D. Soman on
the relationship between radiation levels and health status in 5 cities in India tried to indicate
that higher radiation levels correlate with lower incidence of cancer. Makhijani finds that
not only is the data used in the study deficient, but the analysis is faulty and important contributory factors entirely ignored. He calls this paper “a shameful piece “of work presented in the guise of science,” which not only discredits the authors but also BARC (Bhabha Atomic
Research Centre) and the referees and the publishers of the Journal Health Physics.