Power Plant at Sundarbans, West Bengal
Dear Sir, We strongly oppose the West Bengal Government's proposal to set up a nuclear power plant in the State of West Bengal. Any nuclear plant would be hazardous and harmful to the health of the people of the State. The adverse effect that such a plant will have on the health of the people will be irreversible and of very severe consequence.
From the news published in different newspapers, including Aajkal, Ananda Bazar, The Statesman, The Telegraph, and Pratidin as also from publications in various other media, it appears that in response to the proposal of National Power Commission, the West Bengal Government has agreed to allot land and provide other facilities for installation of a nuclear power plant in our State. It also appears that for the aforesaid purpose, a high powered committee has been formed comprising, (1) Shri Subimal Sen - Secretary, Science and Technology Department; (2) Shri Ram Sevak Bandopadhyay - Power Secretary, Government of West Bengal; (3) Shri G.D. Gautam -- Chairman, West Bengal State electricity Board; (4) Shri Bijon Paul - Managing Director, West Bengal Power Development Corporation; (5) Shri Manish Gupta - Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal.
So far as we have been able to ascertain, the designated job of the said committee will be to select an appropriate site for installation of the proposed nuclear power plant. We have also come to know that the said committee has already selected the Sundarban area in the South 24 Parganas of the district of West Bengal as the appropriate site for such nuclear power plant. We have also come to know that the said committee has written to the District Magistrates of the other districts of West Bengal requesting for information regarding an appropriate site for installation of the proposed nuclear plant. However, such requests appear to be mere formality since the Sundarban area has already been selected as the appropriate site for installation of the nuclear power plant mentioned here in above.
We are extremely worried and concerned about the aforesaid proposed installation of nuclear plant in the Sundarban area, for, inter alia, the following reasons: i) Installation of such a nuclear power plant would have extreme adverse effects on the environment of that area and will severely affect the natural surroundings and the health of the people residing in or in the vicinity thereof. ii) Installation of such a nuclear plant will have serious adverse effects on the ecology of that area and will also severely jeopardize the consolidated effort of preserving greenery and preventing deforestation in and around that area.
If the Government of West Bengal allows the installation of the proposed nuclear plant in the Sundarban area, the natural environment of that area will be destroyed by reason of the adverse toxic efforts of the nuclear plant. Further, in due course of time, other parts of the State including the city of Calcutta will be affected by toxic nuclear reactions.
It may be noted that a well-known environmentally conscious newspaper, The Hindustan, published from Calcutta in West Bengal, in its edition dated 27 April 2000 has strongly opposed the proposal of setting up of the nuclear plant in the State.
Having learnt of the aforesaid proposal regarding setting up of the said nuclear plant in the Sundarban area, some of the intelligentsia of the State including Shri Sankar Sen, the former Minister of State for power, Smt. Malini Bhattachargee, former M.P., Shri Amiya Bagchi, Economist, and others have recorded their protest to the aforesaid nuclear scheme by way of a written representation dated 27 April, 2000.
The grounds, on which we oppose installation of nuclear plant, are, inter alia, as follows: 1. The underground water of the concerned place would be polluted. 2. Nuclear power plant has been proved to be extremely costly and unsafe to human health. 3. Environmental balance in and around the nuclear plant will be affected and destruction of life is very likely. 4. The accidents at Chernobil, Ukraine, USSR where more than 6 lakhs people were affected with deadly diseases including cancer, thrombosis and loss of protection power of the body due to radioactive ray. 5. In Japan, due to the worst nuclear accident in last September 1999, numerous people were exposed to radiation and died. The Japanese city of Shinora was exposed to an estimated 10 (ten) sieverts of radiation which is 10,000 times more than the maximum permissible exposure in Japan.
Till now no country in the world has been successful in safe and careful preservation of nuclear waste.
Radioactive elements have very bad effect on human health including adverse effects on digestion, blood circulation, gastric functions and other important functions of the human body.
We are of the firm belief that there is no requirement for installation of any nuclear power plant in the Sundarban area or any other area of West Bengal and any such installation will not have any beneficial effect on the State or on the inhabitants of the State. On the contrary, any such installation of nuclear power plant will cause unnecessary health hazards and problems to the people of West Bengal.
In view of the aforesaid, we strongly protest against the setting up of any nuclear power plant in the Sundarbans area or anywhere in the State of West Bengal. This is not only for your information, but also we would request you to kindly intervene in his matter at the earliest. Your valued opinion in this respect is solicited. A seminar will be held on 8th July 2000. Expecting best wishes from your end.
-- Achintya Kr. Bose, Secretary, East Calcutta APDR
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(PUCL Bulletin, August 2000)