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India: Jadugoda Case and Supreme Court Judgment

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    12 May 2004 The Supreme Court of India has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the hazardous impact of the uranium waste disposal by the Uranium
    Message 1 of 1 , May 12, 2004
      12 May 2004


      The Supreme Court of India has dismissed a Public
      Interest Litigation (PIL) on the hazardous impact
      of the uranium waste disposal by the Uranium
      Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) at Jadugoda,
      East Singbhum District of Jharkhand, on 15th
      April 2004. Uranium waste disposal by the UCIL at
      Jadugoda has been causing health hazards to the
      local tribal people of Jadugoda and surrounding
      areas as result of radiation emissions. This has
      been happening since several decades and as a
      result local tribal people have become of victims
      of deadly cancer disease. This has been
      confirmed by the independent survey conducted by
      Anumukthi magazine.

      To overcome these problems and to take proper
      measures, the PIL made a prayer to the Honorable
      Supreme Court to take cognizance of the matter
      and intervene to direct the UCIL, the Atomic
      Energy Commission and other concerned
      authorities to take all possible steps under a
      time bound programme to ensure that the
      radioactive effluents generated by the mining and
      allied activities of the Jadugoda uranium mines
      are controlled and treated properly so that the
      same do not cause serious hazards to the health
      and lives of those working or living in or around
      the Jadugoda uranium mines.

      However, the Supreme Court held that in view of
      affidavit filed by the Chairman, Atomic Energy
      Commission, that adequate steps have been taken
      to check and control radiation arising out of
      uranium waste, the Court do not see any merit in
      the petition and accordingly it has been
      dismissed.

      The fact of the matter is that no such measures
      have been taken and the local tribal people are
      continuously becoming victims. The dismissal of
      the petition once again shows the Supreme Courtís
      reluctant attitude towards actual problems faced
      by the tribal people of Jadugoda. This can be
      said as latest case of denial of tribal peoples
      rights to health and life, in the name of the
      'national interest', 'development' and all other
      big things.

      Though the JOAR was not a party to the petition,
      it feels concerned about the judgment as it is
      concerned with the tribal people of Jadugoda with
      whom the JOAR has been working. The JOAR
      considers that since the Courts are reluctant to
      the issues, the only alternate is to educate and
      organize the people to deal with their rights by
      themselves. An organized peoples' movement in
      Judugoda will certainly bring pressure on the
      authorities roll back hazardous uranium mining
      activities. This is only the solution to the
      problems faced by the tribal people of Jadugoda.

      ----Jharkhandi Organisation Against Radiation, Jadugoda [Jharkhand, India]


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