LOKPAL BILL NEEDS TO ADDRESS INDIAN ‘CORRUPT MINDSET’ FOR ERADICATING CORRUPTION

Dear Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Your following email to Mr. Ram Puniani To: “Dalits Media Watch” <PMARC@dgroups.org> Date: Saturday, 24 December, 2011, 5:01 PM has prompted me to copy below one of my previous email to you, among others, to let you know that Team Anna Hazare’s effort to address corruption by the representatives and beneficiaries of the corrupt social system without addressing the real cause of corruption in India is like putting old wine in new bottle. Eugene

Dear Puniani ji,
I am surprised that you are participating in this Dharna.
Warmly,
Prashant
Sent on my BlackBerry® from Vodafone

LOKPAL BILL NEEDS TO ADDRESS INDIAN ‘CORRUPT MINDSET’ FOR ERADICATING CORRUPTION 

Dear Mr. Anna Hasare and other following Indian dignitaries:

Justice Santosh Hegde; Prashant Bhushan; Arvind Kejriwal; Shanti Bhushan; J M Lyngdoh; Kiran Bedi; Sri Sri Ravishankar; Swami Agnivesh; Arch Bishop of Delhi, Vincent Concessao; Mahmood A Madani; Kiran Bedi; J M Lyngdoh; Shanti Bhushan; Prashant Bhushan; Arvind Kejriwal; Mufti Shamoom Qasmi; Mallika Sarabhai; Arun Bhatia; Sunita Godara; Swami Ramdev; Fr.Thomas Kocherry, and others who supported Fast unto death of Anna Hasare,

First of all, I salute you, Sir Anna Hasare, and congratulate others for supporting the Fast unto death. All of you have helped to touch the cardinal problem of India – corruption at all levels; hence an overwhelming public support, which culminated ‘successfully’.

Following is an edited version of a communication I prepared a day before the completion of the Fast as a response to some of the supporting emails circulated. What specifically prompted my response was the expectation of the struggle: “it should not end up only with acceptance of desired changes in the Lokpal Bill but until and unless the corruption is wiped out in real sense which has become unbearable for the common people”

Apart from helping to understand the degree of extent to which individuals and organisations are addressing the problems of the ‘common people’, I presume the supporting groups are the creamy layer of the vocal category of the ‘common people’. I see also an organisation/ movement – ‘India against Corruption’ formed with a beautiful name and concept, to eradicate corruption from India once and for all.

However, going through the Fast unto death documents and publicity materials, I find that the demand made has only a very limited scope – being the “enactment of a strong anti-corruption law – Jan Lokpal Bill – to ensure swiftness and certainty of punishment to the corrupt”. Apart from adding one more law into the annals of Indian jurisprudence, I am unable to see how this law could establish a corrupt free India? The demand is silent as how the “corruption is wiped out in real sense which has become unbearable for the common people”? If corruption is not “wiped out in real sense” what is the earthly use of subjecting a noble human being to go fast unto death; and what is the benefit of these dignitaries joining the campaign? Hence the need for scientifically diagnosing the cause which is more than Jan Lokpal (Ombudsman) legislation rather than the symptom – corruption, which is only a symptom.

On earlier occasions, when “Anna sat on fast – 6 corrupt ministers in Maharashtra had to resign ; *400 corrupt officers were dismissed from job; *2002 – Maharashtra RTI Act was passed; *2006 – Central Government withdrew its proposal to amend Central RTI Act”. Great achievements! If this is the case, this time also his fast unto death is likely to draw some impact, more specifically enactment of a law, which is only a part of the final goal. Why should his fast achieve a partial goal? Why political corruption alone? Why not the real corruption in Indian society as contemplated?
What is the real corruption in India? – The Fast unto death is addressing corruption in the Political field – political corruption – hence boycotting political parties etc. Political corruption is only a part of corruption practiced by the political masters and their stooges including all public servants. India follows a democratic form of government which is a “system guaranteeing that we are no better governed than we deserve”. So corruption in the political system is only the reflection of existing corruption in the general society in the form of a ‘general mindset’. That is nothing unusual. Corruption is only delivered by a corrupt mind – a collective corruptive mind of Indian society. Political corruption which we focus now to eradicate is only the miniature of the existing general mindset. It is hypocrisy to believe that political corruption can be eradicated without addressing societal corruption.

For over 30 years I was involved in grass-root, state and national level organisational work with the marginalised global poor wherein I had the opportunity of being very closely tied with two state and one national level legislations. As part of my patriotism, I never dreamt of working outside India, although I had a couple of occasions to study abroad. However destiny has now taken me to UK where I am one of the founders and Director of a Charity for the past 11 years and closely linked with a recent legislation passed by the British Parliament. 95% of my 30 years of developmental work in India was wasted on combating opposition against development – only 5% of the developmental time, resources, energy was available for real development work. The opposition to development of the poor was due to a certain ‘general mindset’ of the society based on caste discrimination. We all know that caste dominates almost all spheres of life of the people in India/ South Asia. From birth to death, from morning till night, each and every individual in India is guided by Caste. Caste dominates our personal morality to politics; our culture to religious beliefs (all Indian religions follow caste).

Caste, which is carried by almost every Indian in his name, is a corruptive concept. It corrupts our minds, so much so 15% of the populations, who are the beneficiaries of the caste system, consider others as ‘slaves’ and ‘untouchables’. These two last categories having lived over 3000 years in this situation have internalised their discriminations very much that they are unable to think otherwise. All the glorified traditional value systems of India, including personal ethics and morality, are based on caste. Caste differentiates Indians as privileged castes, who are caste perpetrators on the one side and ‘slaves’ and ‘untouchables’ on the other. Incidentally, there are few countries in the world which castigates its citizens as ‘untouchables’. India with 1/3rd+ of the global poor to its credit, brands its 85% of the population as ‘slaves’ and ‘untouchables’, the historically broken people, the Dalits. 90% of Dalits, which includes Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists etc. live intergenerationally poor without being considered as human beings, leave alone fellow human beings. According to studies, more than half of the Indian populations, 500+ millions live below the poverty line, with every year adding 1 million to the ranks during the last 10 years. This is despite India having strong economic growth, rising from low to middle income status and producing several billionaires. Comparisons show that in many respects, Indian poverty amounts to worse than the poverty of Sub- Saharan African countries.

India is a highly ‘spiritual’ country with many ‘spiritual leaders’. Its privileged castes over centuries have punished the masses through indoctrination to accept fate, destiny and caste. Caste teaches man to behave with man in an inhuman manner; caste does not recognise a human being as a human being; caste permit the touch of an animal, but the touch of a human being pollutes; caste precludes some classes from education and forbids them to accumulate wealth; it permits animals to drink water, from where humans prohibited. Apart from corrupting the mind with the notion of unequal position by birth and inequality before law and Supreme power, caste necessitates inter-caste practice of corruption and criminal activities with impunity for the privileged castes. Even punishment system is graded. Caste compels practice of intra-caste nepotism and favouritism against other caste members. Further, the rulers are asked to implement caste laws. Hence the ruler’s reluctance to bring changes, in spite of golden laws and Constitution. Any attempt to remedy ‘historical injustices’, through affirmative action is brutally opposed by the privileged castes and such actions are accepted as their birth right to continue enjoying unjustly accumulated privileges. Although these are against all notions of ‘justice’ in democracy, they are justified within caste laws. Even during times of field leveling natural calamities, relief and rehabilitations rendered on caste basis. Inter-generational poverty is an award for the poor according to the caste mindset; hence the ‘general mindset’ has developed callousness towards poverty, injustice and human rights of half of Indian masses. The result is the perpetuation of world records in poverty and plenty at the same time. It is difficult to find any country where money is literally ‘worshipped’ as in India. Hence the belief that money acquired through any means, including through corruption, as God given. Notions of poverty, injustice, human rights, if at all exist, are practiced within the castes/class groups and not outside one’s caste. Exceptional spillovers are considered as great acts of Charity.

Caste “is a primitive form of systemic exploitation of a large mass of people by few, denying their human development, including socio-economic, educational, faith, cultural and political rights; aimed to reducing them to sub-human levels, even to the extent of treating them worse than animals; with laws of deprivations and restrictions in all walks of life for the victims; and undue privileges, benefits and criminal immunity for the perpetrators; based on a religiously / culturally -linked notion of birth in certain caste groups – which stratifies and grades the society with fictitious status, human and material values”. (VODI newsletter August/ September 2010).

It is not the fault of an individual to be born into a certain caste and it may not be his or her fault to enjoy the privileges of caste system and grow thick as trees in the forest. But nothing stops him or her to express their views and changing the caste mindset’ in favour of the poor, marginalised, discriminated and excluded. However, India’s elite class and privileged castes, including the dignitaries mentioned above, do have the opportunity and capability to understand how caste discrimination affects the psychology and welfare of individuals and society as a whole and how caste causes corruption. Instead, they act as ostriches, burying their intellectual honesty and progressive face in the sand. When it comes to the question of addressing caste discrimination, they leave it to corrupt politicians, who are also the product of the caste mindset. Shockingly, caste based corruptions are not mentioned among the features of the contemplated Jan Lokpal Bill.

The UK Government Department for International Development, (DFID) has analysed the impact of caste on poverty, of more than 500 million people in India as given below:

*Caste ’causes poverty and gets into the way of poverty reduction’. *It ’causes the poverty of a particular people, leading to higher rates of poverty among the affected groups’. *It ‘reduces the productive capacity and poverty reduction of a society as a whole’. *It ‘deprives people of choices and opportunities to escape from poverty and denies them voice to claim their rights’.

*’Poverty reduction policies often fail to reach socially excluded groups’ – Dalits- ‘unless they are specifically designed to do so’. (‘Reducing Poverty by Tackling Social Exclusion’, DFID, 2004). If caste causes poverty, sure enough, it causes a corruptive ‘mindset’, resulting to a ‘general mindset’. With these kinds of caste impacts in the country, no Indian can claim that corruption will be wiped out by legislation!

Many feel that ‘One Anna Hazare is enough’ to achieve the demand for legislation. In fact, that proved to be true also. To them and to those who supported the Fast with the assertion that – “the whole country minus the political parliamentary parties are with you on this issue of the fight against corruption”, I have a question. Does this ‘whole country’ include the 500+ million poor in India, who are victims of the daily corruption due to the Indian ‘general caste mindset’? If not, why not include caste caused corruption in the demand and thereby address the daily corruption subjected by the poor? Removing the ‘general corrupt mindset’ would automatically remove corruption in all walks of life in India, including political corruption. Perhaps, Anna Hazare and those who supported his fast should rethink for another campaign so that “the corruption is wiped out in real sense which has become unbearable for the common people”.

Eugene Culas,
Voice of Dalit International (VODI)
ICG House, Station Approach, Greenford, London UB6 OAL
Tel/ Fx : (00 44) 0208 813 2380, Email: vodi@vodintl.org.uk ,Web: http://www.vodintl.org.uk

the pX�t  A�Aaharan African countries.

India is a highly ‘spiritual’ country with many ‘spiritual leaders’. Its privileged castes over centuries have punished the masses through indoctrination to accept fate, destiny and caste. Caste teaches man to behave with man in an inhuman manner; caste does not recognise a human being as a human being; caste permit the touch of an animal, but the touch of a human being pollutes; caste precludes some classes from education and forbids them to accumulate wealth; it permits animals to drink water, from where humans prohibited. Apart from corrupting the mind with the notion of unequal position by birth and inequality before law and Supreme power, caste necessitates inter-caste practice of corruption and criminal activities with impunity for the privileged castes. Even punishment system is graded. Caste compels practice of intra-caste nepotism and favouritism against other caste members. Further, the rulers are asked to implement caste laws. Hence the ruler’s reluctance to bring changes, in spite of golden laws and Constitution. Any attempt to remedy ‘historical injustices’, through affirmative action is brutally opposed by the privileged castes and such actions are accepted as their birth right to continue enjoying unjustly accumulated privileges. Although these are against all notions of ‘justice’ in democracy, they are justified within caste laws. Even during times of field leveling natural calamities, relief and rehabilitations rendered on caste basis. Inter-generational poverty is an award for the poor according to the caste mindset; hence the ‘general mindset’ has developed callousness towards poverty, injustice and human rights of half of Indian masses. The result is the perpetuation of world records in poverty and plenty at the same time. It is difficult to find any country where money is literally ‘worshipped’ as in India. Hence the belief that money acquired through any means, including through corruption, as God given. Notions of poverty, injustice, human rights, if at all exist, are practiced within the castes/class groups and not outside one’s caste. Exceptional spillovers are considered as great acts of Charity.

Caste “is a primitive form of systemic exploitation of a large mass of people by few, denying their human development, including socio-economic, educational, faith, cultural and political rights; aimed to reducing them to sub-human levels, even to the extent of treating them worse than animals; with laws of deprivations and restrictions in all walks of life for the victims; and undue privileges, benefits and criminal immunity for the perpetrators; based on a religiously / culturally -linked notion of birth in certain caste groups – which stratifies and grades the society with fictitious status, human and material values”. (VODI newsletter August/ September 2010).

It is not the fault of an individual to be born into a certain caste and it may not be his or her fault to enjoy the privileges of caste system and grow thick as trees in the forest. But nothing stops him or her to express their views and changing the caste mindset’ in favour of the poor, marginalised, discriminated and excluded. However, India’s elite class and privileged castes, including the dignitaries mentioned above, do have the opportunity and capability to understand how caste discrimination affects the psychology and welfare of individuals and society as a whole and how caste causes corruption. Instead, they act as ostriches, burying their intellectual honesty and progressive face in the sand. When it comes to the question of addressing caste discrimination, they leave it to corrupt politicians, who are also the product of the caste mindset. Shockingly, caste based corruptions are not mentioned among the features of the contemplated Jan Lokpal Bill.

The UK Government Department for International Development, (DFID) has analysed the impact of caste on poverty, of more than 500 million people in India as given below:

*Caste ’causes poverty and gets into the way of poverty reduction’. *It ’causes the poverty of a particular people, leading to higher rates of poverty among the affected groups’. *It ‘reduces the productive capacity and poverty reduction of a society as a whole’. *It ‘deprives people of choices and opportunities to escape from poverty and denies them voice to claim their rights’.

*’Poverty reduction policies often fail to reach socially excluded groups’ – Dalits- ‘unless they are specifically designed to do so’. (‘Reducing Poverty by Tackling Social Exclusion’, DFID, 2004). If caste causes poverty, sure enough, it causes a corruptive ‘mindset’, resulting to a ‘general mindset’. With these kinds of caste impacts in the country, no Indian can claim that corruption will be wiped out by legislation!

Many feel that ‘One Anna Hazare is enough’ to achieve the demand for legislation. In fact, that proved to be true also. To them and to those who supported the Fast with the assertion that – “the whole country minus the political parliamentary parties are with you on this issue of the fight against corruption”, I have a question. Does this ‘whole country’ include the 500+ million poor in India, who are victims of the daily corruption due to the Indian ‘general caste mindset’? If not, why not include caste caused corruption in the demand and thereby address the daily corruption subjected by the poor? Removing the ‘general corrupt mindset’ would automatically remove corruption in all walks of life in India, including political corruption. Perhaps, Anna Hazare and those who supported his fast should rethink for another campaign so that “the corruption is wiped out in real sense which has become unbearable for the common people”.

Eugene Culas,

Voice of Dalit International (VODI)

ICG House, Station Approach, Greenford, London UB6 OAL

Tel/ Fx : (00 44) 0208 813 2380, Email: vodi@vodintl.org.uk ,Web: http://www.vodintl.org.uk

Death threat to a Human Rights Defender Ms. Manorama Ekka

Death threat to a Human Rights Defender Ms. Manorama Ekka

Gladson Dungdung

To,

Mr. Satyabrata Pal,
Hon’ble Member,
The National Human Rights Commission,
Faridcourt House, Copernicus Marge,

New Delhi-1

Sub: For investigation and necessary action on death threat to a Human
Rights Defender Ms. Manorama Ekka of Lohardaga district of Jharkhand.

Dear Sir,

With due respect, I would like to bring your kind attention on a case of death threat to a human rights defender Ms. Manorama Ekka, D/O. Mr. Niranjan Ekka, resident of Chatter Bagicha, comes under Lohardaga police station in Lohardaga district Jharkhand by a private company in support of
the criminal group for protesting against the denial of compensation to the land owners.

*Case details: *

A Human Rights Defender Ms. Manorama Ekka, D/O. Mr. Niranjan Ekka, resident of Chatter Bagicha, comes under Lohardaga police station in Lohardaga district Jharkhand has been working to protect and promote the Child Rights, Tribal Rights and Human Rights in Lohardaga district since 2003. Presently, she is an elected ward Commissioner of Ward No. 21 of Lohardaga. She has been intervening for compensation to the villagers for their lands acquired for a Sponge Iron Factory.

There is a village called Sithio at Senha block of Lohardaga district there in which the Pawanjay Steel and Power Pvt. Limited has been establishing a Sponge Iron Factory. The Company has already acquired around 75 to 80 acres of land (60%of the land belongs to poor tribal and rest land belongs to Schedule Caste and OBC) under the CNT Act 1908 section 49 (a) in the year 2005-2006. However, the company didn’t pay the compensation to the land owners as promised in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

On 25th of November 2011 the PSPL Pvt. Limited started some construction work on the site area as a result villagers protested at the site and took off the signboard of the company. Ms. Manorama Ekka is a known activist and working for the protection of the rights of the people therefore she was
part of the people’s protest. She was also angry because the company is not serious about the welfare of the poor people.

After this protest, the director of the company Mr. Gyanchand Agarwal contacted Ms. Manorama Ekka and asked her to convince the villagers and when she refused he has been threatening by the help of some anti social element. Mr. Manorama Ekka has been threatened by Mr. Abhay jee
continuously. He makes call in Ms. Manorama Ekka’s mobile number 09939992297 by his (Mr. Abhay) number 09472375863.

On 4th of December 2011 Mr. Abhay ji who said himself as the supremo of an extremist group “Jharkhand Janmukti Sangharsh Morcha” called Mr. Manorama at 6:57 pm. On 6th December 2011, he again called her when she reached Ranchi from Lohardaga by train around 10:20 am to her sister’s place at Women’s College Ranchi. On the same day he again called her second time around 10:31 a.m and again at 12:31 pm continuously and threatened her saying that if the work of company is not started within two days, he will kill her. Mr. Abhay ji has been threatening her as well s few villagers.

Mr. Manorama Ekka has informed the local police and also filed a written complaint to the Inspector General of Police and the Deputy Inspector General of Police requesting for action against the company and protection to the protestors but nothing has been done so far. Hence, it is a clear
case of death threat to the Human Rights Defender therefore I request the National Human Rights Commission for the following actions.

1. A high level inquiry should be established on the case of death threat to Ms. Manorama Ekka.
2. Mr. Manorama Ekka should be given police protection.

3. Mr. Abhay ji should be arrested, who has been giving death threat to Ms. Manorama Ekka and other villagers.
4. A case should be filed against the Mr. Gyanchand Agarwal and sent to jail who has been taking the support of criminals for establishing a factory.
5. A case should be filed against the company for violating the right to life of the villagers.

Thanking you

Yours sincerely,

Gladson Dungdung 
General Secretary,
JHRM, Ranchi

Protests and Repression: Struggles Growing in the Forest Areas

Protests and Repression: Struggles Growing in the Forest Areas

C.R.Bijoy

Friends,

The last few weeks have seen struggles over forest rights and forest control intensifying across the country. On the one hand there are larger and larger protests taking place, and on the other, the continued use of force by Central and State governments is combined with total silence and apathy on protecting people’s rights.

Campaign member organisations have planned a series of yatras and protests in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa in the coming weeks. The Jangal Jameen Jan Andolan has undertaken a yatra in Rajasthan, crossing Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswada, Sirohi, Pali and Pratapgarh districts between December 20 and 28th. On December 29th demonstrations will be held in all block headquarters that have been covered. The demands are for respect and recognition of community forest rights, a halt to illegal rejections and modifications of titles and respect for people’s democratic resource rights over their lands, forests and minerals. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 people rallied and ten sat on hunger strike in Dahanu, Thane District, Maharashtra on  December 7th and 8th against violations of people’s rights under the FRA; the hunger strike was alled off after a written commitment from the SDO. A similar mass protest was held in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra on December 19th against the illegal imposition of conditions on titles for community forest rights. Yatras are also planned in western Maharashtra and Gujarat in January; on January 19th and January 26th mass demonstrations will be held in district headquarters in Chhattisgarh and Orissa respectively. These latter protests will also oppose the land acquisition bill and call for democratic control over resources.

Aside from these plans, other protests and mass struggles are underway. On December 15th, a “People’s Forest Rights Rally” was organised at Delhi by a coalition of organisations. In the POSCO area, more than 20 people were injured and one killed in an attack on December 14th by a contractor’s private goondas; unsurprisingly, on that day alone, the police were nowhere to be found. In Assam the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti is leading a mass struggle against the illegal and dangerous Lower Subansiri Dam project, in which huge numbers of people have joined; but on the night of December 25th the police arrested more than 200 people in a raid and are continuing their attacks. The KMSS has also been involved in struggles against the ongoing repression and violence around Kaziranga National Park, where forest guards regularly shoot those they accuse of being “poachers.” Brutality and violence continues to mark the situation in Chhattisgarh, where the extremely brutal torture of Soni Sori – and the indifferent response of even the Supreme Court to it – gives the lie to all the tales about respect for the “rule of law” and how it is being enforced by “security forces.” Chhattisgarh has also seen a string of recent illegal evictions from forest land. In north Bengal, an organised effort to take control of community forests is facing opposition and resistance from the Forest Department.

In addition, planning is underway for the declaration of new tiger reserves and relocation of people from them in violation of the law. Mass protests have begun in Kawal Sanctuary to resist the proposed illegal conversion of this sanctuary. In Tadoba Tiger Reserve, Sarang Dhabekar, a Steering Committee member of the National Forum of Forest Peoples and Forest Workers was arrested and slapped with false cases because he had been involved in resistance to illegal relocation efforts.

The Campaign condemns this ever-increasing repression and the brutal use of force against those who are fighting for justice. Once again, we see all talk of “rule of law” and “democracy” being brushed aside in the hideous loot of natural resources by the ruling class of this country.

Campaign for Survival and Dignity
Ph: 9873657844, http://www.forestrightsact.com

Lokpal Bill continues to be a ‘jinxed’ affair

Lokpal Bill continues to be a ‘jinxed’ affair

Press Trust of India, Updated: December 30, 2011 03:1

New Delhi: The Lokpal Bill has always appeared to be a jinxed affair, the history of last 40 years shows. With the Rajya Sabha adjourning sine die midnight amid uproar without passing the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011, even after day-long debate, it has once again shown that it was so.

In fact, the strange coincidence so far was that the Lok Sabha has got dissolved whenever Parliament has taken up the Lokpal Bill for consideration.

This has been the case since 1968. That year, The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was introduced on May 9. It was referred to the Select Committee of Parliament.

It was passed in the Lok Sabha as “The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 1969″ on August 20, 1969. However, before this Bill could be passed by the Rajya Sabha, the Fourth Lok Sabha was dissolved and consequently this Bill lapsed.

Then on August 11, 1971 another Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was introduced. It was neither referred to any Committee, nor passed by any House. It died a natural death consequent upon the dissolution of the Fifth Lok Sabha.

Later, the Lokpal Bill was brought on July 28, 1977. It was referred to a Joint Select Committee of both the Houses of Parliament. Before the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee could be considered, the Sixth Lok Sabha was dissolved and consequently this Bill also lapsed.

The Lokpal Bill, 1985, was introduced on August 28 that year and referred to a Joint Select committee of Parliament. However, the Bill was withdrawn by the then government because of its inadequacy to cover different types of situations. While withdrawing it, the government of the day said it would later come forward with a comprehensive legislation to deal with redress of public grievances.

The Lokpal Bill came again in 1989 as it was introduced on December 29. However, the Bill lapsed consequent upon the dissolution of the Ninth Lok Sabha on March 13, 1991. The United Front government introduced yet another bill on the issue on September 13, 1996. It was referred to the department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for examination and report. The Standing Committee presented its report to Parliament on May 9, 1997 making wide ranging
amendments to the various provisions of the Bill. Before the government could finalise its stand on the various recommendations of the Standing Committee, the Eleventh Lok Sabha was dissolved.

The last such measure was brought on August 14, 2001 by the BJP-led NDA government. It was referred to the department- related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for examination and report but the Government bowed out of office in May 2004.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/lokpal-bill-continues-to-be-a-jinxed-affair-161987?pfrom=home-otherstories&cp

 

Nuclear disaster response failed, says report

Nuclear disaster response failed, says report

CRUCIAL LAPSE: Workers assumed that the emergency cooling system at Unit-1 was working despite its failure.

Japan’s response to the nuclear crisis that followed the March 11 tsunami was confused and riddled with problems, including an erroneous assumption an emergency cooling system was working and a delay in disclosing dangerous radiation leaks, an interim report revealed on December 26.

The disturbing picture of harried and bumbling workers and government officials scrambling to respond to the problems at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was depicted in the report detailing a government investigation.

The 507-page interim report, compiled by interviewing more than 400 people, including utility workers and government officials, found authorities had grossly underestimated tsunami risks, assuming the highest wave would be 6 meters (20 feet). The tsunami hit at more than double those levels.

The report criticized the use of the term “soteigai,” meaning “outside our imagination,” which it said implied authorities were shirking responsibility for what had happened. It said by labeling the events as beyond what could have been expected, officials had invited public distrust.

“This accident has taught us an important lesson on how we must be ready for soteigai,” it said.

Untrianed workers

The report, set to be finished by mid-2012, found workers at Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that ran Fukushima Dai-ichi, were untrained to handle emergencies like the power shutdown that struck when the tsunami destroyed backup generators setting off the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

There was no clear manual to follow, and the workers failed to communicate, not only with the government but also among themselves, it said.

Finding alternative ways to bring sorely needed water to the reactors was delayed for hours because of the mishandling of an emergency cooling system, the report said. Workers assumed the system was working, despite several warning signs it had failed and was sending the nuclear core into meltdown.

The report acknowledged that even if the system had kicked in properly, the tsunami damage may have been so great that meltdowns would have happened anyway.

But a better response might have reduced the core damage, radiation leaks and the hydrogen explosions that followed at two reactors and sent plumes of radiation into the air, according to the report.

GROSS FAILURE

Sadder still was how the government dallied in relaying information to the public, such as using evasive language to avoid admitting serious meltdowns at the reactors, the report said.

The government also delayed disclosure of radiation data in the area, unnecessarily exposing entire towns to radiation when they could have evacuated, the report found.

The government recommended changes so utilities will respond properly to serious accidents.

It recommended separating the nuclear regulators from the unit that promotes atomic energy, echoing frequent criticism since the disaster.

Japan’s nuclear regulators were in the same ministry that promotes the industry, but they are being moved to the environment ministry next year to ensure more independence.

The report did not advocate a move away from nuclear power but recommended adding more knowledgeable experts, including those who would have been able to assess tsunami risks, and laying out an adequate response plan to what it called “a severe accident.”

The report acknowledged people were still living in fear of radiation spewed into the air and water, as well as radiation in the food they eat. Thousands have been forced to evacuate and have suffered monetary damage from radiation contamination, it said.

“The nuclear disaster is far from over,” the report said.

The earthquake and tsunami left 20,000 people dead or missing.