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"Lima call to climate action" for 2015 agreement amidst differentiation between rich & poor countries

Written By Gopal Krishna on Monday, December 15, 2014 | 9:56 PM

‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions ( INDCs)’ as mitigation actions and adaptation actions to fight climate change under the 2015 agreement are all set to be presented as voluntary targets by all countries before the annual meeting in Paris. The 13 days of negotiations for a new UN climate agreement  with 196 countries concluded on the morning of 14 December, 2014 in Peru with "Lima call to climate action" for 2015 agreement amidst acknowledgement of differentiation between rich and poor countries

The negotiations will continue in February 2015. The first draft of the negotiating text is likely to be ready by June 2015. By December 2015 at Paris agreement would have been reached. 

Hopefully, the provision for payment for loss and damage caused by inaction of the developed world to reduce emissions as demanded by the poorest countries will find its place in the final agreement besides  the provision for financing and technology for the mitigation and adaptation actions. 

The pace and content of the talks do not reflect that the national governments have been able to liberate themselves from the vice like grip of corporations, the real culprits of climate crisis. Undemocratic organisations and their unnatural market forces are structurally insensitive to global environmental crises.   

Danish end-of-life toxic ship Clipper Concord headed for Alang beach



ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)

To


Shri Prakash Javdekar,
Union Minister of Environment, Forests & Climate Change 
Government of India
New Delhi

Secretary
Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change
Government of India
New Delhi

Secretary
Union Ministry of Shipping
Government of India
New Delhi

Secretary
Union Ministry of Steel
Government of India
New Delhi

December 16, 2014

Subject- Urgent Alert- Danish end-of-life toxic ship Clipper Concord (IMO No. 9232319) headed for Alang beach for dismantling in violation of Hon’ble Supreme Court’s order, Shipbreaking Code 2013 and Basel Convention

Sir,

This is to urgently inform you that a Danish end-of-life asbestos laden and persistent organic pollutants laden and heavy metals laden ship Clipper Concord (IMO No. 9232319) is headed for Alang beach, Bhavnagar, Gujarat for dismantling in violation of Hon’ble Supreme Court’s order and Shipbreaking Code 2013. It’s likely time of arrival on Alang beach is 6.30 AM on December 17, 2014. The real owner of this dead and obsolete ship is Shri Christian Stadil, a noted Danish businessman who preaches a good deal about ethics in business. This end-of-life ship has not been decontaminated in the country of export as per Hon’ble Court’s order. The rate of death of migrant workers on Alang beach has remained somewhat consistent because of such hazardous ships. It is the legacy of likes of Shri A Raja kind of ministers.  

We submit that the Ministry of Shipping must examine the issue at its meeting on the issue of Shipbreaking Code 2013 on December 19, 2014. 

We submit that the movement of this ship under the flag of Bahamas is in violation of UN’s Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal to which India is a party. It is an anti-worker, anti-environment and anti-India step.

We submit that Union Ministry of Environment, Forests is the Focal Point for Basel Convention.

We submit that this ship is in violation of relevant European laws as well.

We submit that the location of the dead Danish ship is available at http://www.vesselfinder.com/da/vessels/CLIPPER-CONCORD-IMO-9232319-MMSI-311034000.

We submit that the refusal to allow the entry of this Danish ship will demonstrate whether state of affairs have changed since the days of Shri A Raja when he was the Union Minister of Environment & Forests.  Under his tenure the Ministry of Environment and Forests became one of the most vociferous proponents of waste dumping in India and turned the country into a trash-servicing economy.

It must be recalled how a Danish end-of-life ship, a ship with dubious credentials left the shores of Denmark. Then a month later, A Raja led environmental ministry and other relevant ministries allowed it to enter Indian waters with a flag of a country that does not exist. It entered Indian waters under the flag of a mythical country called ROXA and beached at Alang, Gujarat's shipbreaking yard, for scrapping. On 15 April, 2005, Ms Connie Hedegaard, Denmark's environment minister alerted her Indian counterpart Shri A Raja about the illegal movement of a 51 year-old asbestos laden ship, Kong Fredrick IX. The ship was on its way to Alang ship breaking yard, Gujarat for scrapping. The ship's new owners Jupiter Ship Management, a Mumbai based company, had renamed it to 'MV Riky'.  Ms Hedegaard wrote: "I write to you in a matter of great concern for me as Minister for the Environment in Denmark - the illegal traffic of hazardous substances in ships." She said that 'Kong Frederik IX' had left Denmark on 16 March 2005, allegedly to be put in service in the Middle East as a cargo ship, and that it was transiting in the Suez, on its way to the Red Sea. Ms Hedegaard had alerted Shri Raja: "Several independent sources of information claim that the ship is now bound for the West-Indian coasts to be dismantled and it could arrive in India within a week. Therefore the information given by owners etc. could be false." She also referred to her conversation with Shri Raja in New York at a meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and their discussing the matter in person. She appealed, "I believe our interests are joint - and I call on you to co-operate in this case by denying the ship to be dismantled in India - and refer the ship to return to Denmark to be stripped of the hazardous waste." She added that by that, India and Denmark could send a strong signal, that neither country would accept export of environmental problems that could be solved locally, and that "we - as governments - will not accept this kind of foul play which results in lasting damage of the environment." 

We submit that responding to Ms Hedegaard on 28 April 2005, Shri Raja wrote: "As you are aware India is a party to the Basel Convention since 1992 and has strengthened the national legislation Hazardous Wastes management notified in 1989 to ensure compliance of our obligations under the Convention. We have determined that the ship cannot be classified as "Wastes" within the scope of Act 2.1 of the Basel Convention." Shri Raja noted that a ship sailing under its own power is not "waste".  Shri Raja also wrote that according to the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) who inspected the ship, there was no objectionable hazardous material on it. He noted that the ship had been beached since 23 April 2005 at Alang, Gujarat. "There are only in built insulation materials which are part of the structure of all ships. As per Indian Laws and our position under the Basel Convention and the IMO, the ship has the requisite permission for beaching," he asserted to Hedegaard.  At around the same time as Ms Hedegaard's letter, Shri Per Stig Moller, the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs also wrote to Shri K Natwar Singh, the then Indian Foreign Minister. This was followed-up by meetings between Mr Michael Sternberg, the Danish ambassador in Delhi and the Shri Pradipto Gosh, Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Nothing changed.  On 23 April 2005, "Riky" arrived for scrapping at Alang under the jurisdiction of GMB. Even the flag under which the ship sailed in isn't perfectly clear. Shri N B Deshmukh, Assistant Commissioner, Customs Division, Bhavnagar, Gujarat said that Riky was carrying the flag of Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (North Korea). However, this version was challenged in the Supreme Court on the ship's admission into India, alleging that the ship sailed in under the flag of Roxa, a non-existent "country".  Subsequently, on 2 June 2005, the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee (SCMC) on Hazardous Waste permitted the dismantling of Riky subject to the presence of officers from CPCB and GPCB. The SCMC was set up by the Supreme Court in October 2003 to monitor the progress in implementation of Hazardous Waste (HW) Rules as well as a series of orders on hazardous waste matters passed by the apex court. SCMC was informed on 24 May 2005 alleging that the registration document for renaming the ship had been fabricated to allow beaching in a bid to confuse the Danish authorities. Riky has since been dismantled. The entry of this dubious Danish ship and its dismantling in Indian waters must be remembered in the list the of India’s intelligence failures in which Shri Raja, Shri Ghosh and Shri Natwar Singh seem to have become complicit. It is noteworthy that although Hon’ble Court admitted the case it never heard the matter to decide the case. Shri Raja’s position was untenable and it belittled India’s stature.   

We submit that the Danish ship Concord (IMO No. 9232319) offers an opportunity to set matters right and undo the damage done by Shri Raja’s tenure. 
We submit that the ship breaking activities are linked to issues of maritime and national security as has been recorded repeatedly in the minutes of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Ship breaking. 

We submit that the transfer of the Danish ship fails to reflect compliance with Basel Convention’s core obligation - minimisation of transboundary movements of hazardous waste, and as such will not prevent hazardous wastes such as asbestos, PCBs, old fuels, and heavy metals from being exported to the poorest communities and most desperate workers in developing countries.

It fails to end the fatally flawed method of dismantling ships known as “beaching” where ships are cut open on tidal flats. This is required because on a beach it is impossible to contain oils and toxic contaminants from entering the marine environment; safely use cranes alongside ships to lift heavy cut pieces or to rescue workers; bring emergency equipment to the workers or the ships and protect the fragile coastal environmental zone from the hazardous wastes on ships. It allows hazardous substances from end-of-life ships to enter India outwitting the motive of the Basel Convention and leaving a toxic legacy for generations to come.

We submit that in violation of the judgment of the Hon’ble court which calls for prior decontamination of the ship in the country of export, the movement of this Danish ship fails to ensure the fundamental principle of “Prior Informed Consent”. The “reporting” is taking place only after the hazardous waste ship arrives in the importing country’s territory that a competent authority has the right to object and the objection allowed is not to the importation but to the ship recycling plan or ship recycling facility permit.  Thus, India is forced to receive hazardous waste in the form of ships.  The movement of such harmful toxic ships ignores Polluter Pays/Producer Responsibility Principle, Environmental Justice Principle, Waste Prevention/Substitution Principles and Principle of National Self Sufficiency in Waste Management.

We submit that if concerned government authorities in India allow entry to this Danish ship it will tantamount to grant of legal recognition to externalization of the real costs and liabilities of ships at end-of-life by the shipping companies of Europe and other developed countries.

We submit that these European shipping companies are so powerful that in order to make national laws and ministries subservient they have engineered the allocation of decision making regarding ship breaking from Union Steel Ministry to Union Shipping Ministry despite the fact that the latter does not have any competence to supervise secondary steel production.

We submit that the European Commission’s disregard for their legal obligations under the Basel Convention is influenced shipping companies to further facilitate the export of their hazardous end-of-life ships to countries like India. The European Commission’s amendment of its European Waste Shipment Regulation is regressive. India should not become complicit in such illegitimate advances of these companies.

We submit that the amendment to the regulation seeks to remove end-of-life ships from the European Waste Shipment Regulation, which is the EU’s implementing legislation of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, and the Basel Ban Amendment. Both related UN norms prohibit the export of all forms of hazardous waste from EU Member States to non-OECD countries including end-of-life ships. The Basel Convention includes ships under its regime when they are to be recycled or disposed of and when they contain hazardous materials. Both the EU and each EU Member State have ratified the Basel Convention and the Basel Ban. Therefore, they have a treaty obligation to adhere to them but the proposed amendment is an act of EU attempting to desert Basel Convention and the Basel Ban. India has ratified the Convention. Government of India should ratify the Basel Ban to stop hazardous waste trade. 

We submit that under the Basel Convention end-of-life vessels are considered hazardous wastes and is sensitive to adverse impact of hazardous waste generating global shipping industry on coastal environmental health but the proposed IMO and EU legislations puts profit above gnawing environmental and occupational health concerns. The fact is that callousness and complicity with regard to environmental and occupational health makes them fit cases of corporate crimes. The European Commission’s proposal not only undermines the Basel Ban, which Europe has implemented and championed, it is also illegal under the Basel Convention. Any proposal to remove ships from the Waste Shipment Regulation is in breach of EU and EU Member States’ legal obligations under the Basel Convention. The EU’s proposed legislation attempting to unilaterally exempt a certain category of hazardous waste covered by the Basel Convention, namely end-of-life ships, from the control mechanisms of the Convention is illegal under international law and EU law. The stark act of European Commission unilaterally departing from its international legal obligations under the Basel Convention merits strong criticism. 

It high time India led the fight by industrialising nations to force rich countries to stop dumping their toxic wastes on developing countries. In November 1992, at the First Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention, Shri A Bhattacharja, the head of the Indian delegation, told the world: “You industrialised countries have been asking us to do many things for the global good – stop cutting down our forests, stop using your CFCs. Now we are asking you to do something for the global good: keep your own waste.”

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) has been working on the issue of hazardous wastes and ship breaking for over decade. It is an applicant before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment & Forests, Parliamentary Petitions Committee, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour and relevant UN agencies besides Inter-Ministerial Committee on Ship breaking. It was the applicant before the Hon’ble Supreme Court wherein the order for creation of the Shipbreaking Code was passed. It had appeared before the Supreme Court’s Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes, Court’s Technical Experts Committee on Hazardous Wastes related to Ship breaking and pursued cases involving famous ships like RIKY (Kong Frederik IX), Le Clemenceau, SS Blue Lady, Platinum II and Exxon Valdez and others.   

In view of the above, we request you to ensure that the Danish ship in question is not allowed entry into the Indian waters and ensure that entry of end-of-life ships are compliant with obligations under Basel Convention. 

We will be happy to share more details in this regard.

Thanking You 
Yours faithfully
 Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Mb: 08227816731, 9818089660
E-mail:gopalkrishna1715@gmail.com
Web: http://www.toxicswatch.com

Cc
Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Shipping  
Chairman, Gujarat Maritime Board
Chairman & Members, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment & Forests
Chairman & Members, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport
Shri A K Seth, Cabinet Secretary, Government of India
Secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs
Secretary, Union Ministry of Defence
Secretary, Union Ministry of Labour
Secretary, Secretary, Union Ministry of External Affairs
Director General of Shipping, Govt. of India
Dr. Alok Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Shipping  
Director General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI), Union Ministry of Finance
Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Mumbai
Director, Hazardous Substances Management Division (HSMD), Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change
Shri Sanjay Parikh, Lawyer, Supreme Court
Member Secretary, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB)
Chairman, GPCB
Chairman, Gujarat Maritime Board
Shri C A Joseph, Under Secretary, MF Desk, Union Ministry of Steel
Collector, Bhavnagar District
Superintendent of Police, Bhavnagar District



high levels of bisphenol A in baby feeding bottles

Written By Gopal Krishna on Sunday, December 14, 2014 | 4:45 AM

UNION MINISTRY OF  HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE has informed the Parliament that it has been communicated by ICMR that Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used to make a hard, clear plastic known as polycarbonate which has been used since 1960s in many consumer products including reusable water bottles. 

In 2008 US FDA conducted a toxicology review on BPA which was till then judged to be safe. However, recent studies have found high urinary BPA levels to be associated with meningioma, obesity measures (BMI & waist circumference), peripheral artery diseases, hypertension, diabetes and reported heart disease but no link with use of feeding bottles has been established.

Recovery of loss of revenue froam GMB for rent and development charge for Alang plots

To

Comptroller & Auditor General of India
Government of India
New Delhi

Accountant General (A&E),
Gujarat

Subject-Recovery of loss of revenue froam GMB for rent and development charge for Alang plots

Sir,

This is to draw your attention towards the actual length of the plot on Alang beach, Bhavnagar, Gujarat which is allotted to ship breakers on rent, which leads to loss of revenue to the government.

I submit that almost of all plots are much more than breath of the various sites X 45 m standard. The rent and development charge is being charged for 45 m standard only although the sites are double and triple the size of 45 m length. (development charge- Rs 200/meter/year, rent-Rs 60/m/year)

I submit that there is no justification for such mistake. The officials of Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) should be held accountable and liable and the loss of revenue must be recovered at the earliest.

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) has been working on the issue of shipbreaking for several years and has been an applicant in the Hon'ble Supreme Court and is currently pursuing a related case in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).


Thanking You


Yours faithfully
Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Mb: 08227816731, 09818089660
E-mail:gopalkrishna1715@gmail.com
Web: www.toxicswatch.org

Cc
Central Vigilance Commissioner
Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Shipping  
Shri Rajive Kumar,  Secretary, Union Ministry of Shipping  
Dr. Alok Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Shipping  
Chairman, Gujarat Maritime Board

Stop water privatisation and strengthen public water supply



Note: Narendra Modi's government's myopic and environmentally disastrous plan to divert 39 major rivers to interlink them is aimed at privatisation of water. The way the government tried to cite Supreme Court's order to pursue the project is deeply problematic because the Court's order records that 7-8 states are opposed to such project. At the Jal Manthan organised by Union Ministry of Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation, states like Punjab and Telangana expressed their opposition to such project besides the environmental groups and followers of Sant Seechewal underlined that transportation of water is against our culture.  
Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)

Stop water privatisation and strengthen public water supply
A new report by Corporate Accountability International uncovers how the World Bank uses ponzi-style marketing tactics to sell privatization projects around the globe that it is also positioned to profit from. "Water privatization has been a disaster,” said Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and national vice president of Socialist Party (India). "We must prevent the World Bank and corporations like Veolia from expanding their reach and block any potential project."
In response to industry reports of an undisclosed contract between the World Bank and the city of Lagos to design and implement a plan to privatize water in Lagos, Corporate Accountability International (CAI) and Environmental Rights Action of Nigeria (ERA) launched a campaign calling on the World Bank to publically disclose the advisory contract with its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC). After weeks of pressure from civil society, the World Bank announced the cancellation of the proposed advisory contract. Leading trade publication Global Water Intelligence also published a retraction of its earlier claim that the IFC’s contract with Lagos Water Corporation was in effect.
Central to the groups’ concerns and the focus of the report is the misleading PR the World Bank uses to market water privatization projects to governments around the world. As part owner of several water corporations including Veolia and Manila Water Company, the World Bank is positioned to directly profit from this marketing, and the resulting projects. Two of the Bank’s most often relied upon “success” stories are in Manila, Philippines and Nagpur, India—both cases that are considered deeply troubled by water privatization experts.
“This week of action and report release mark the beginning of the end to the World Bank’s deceptive marketing and harmful water privatization projects,” said the report’s author, Shayda Naficy, an international water privatization expert, “Officials considering such projects deserve to know the truth—the World Bank isn’t an impartial advisor; it has a vested financial interest in these deals going through. And, second, they’re locking their people into contracts that entail , regardless of the rate hikes, service cutoffs, labor abuses and other human consequences and don’t solve the central obstacle to expanded access: infrastructure investment that often result.”
As the report details, in 1997, the IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank, advised the Philippines government to contract with two private corporations—Maynilad and Manila Water Company—to manage the city’s water system, and took an equity stake in Manila Water Company. The results have been devastating. Rates have increased over 500%, the workforce has been cut, poor quality has led to disease outbreaks, and broken infrastructure promises have resulted in unreliable or nonexistent access in some communities. And, the corporations have now taken the government to arbitration to force through new rate hikes.
And, in Nagpur, India, a water project – involving a Veolia subsidiary in which the IFC holds a 13.9 percent stake -- has been marked by failure at every turn. The project has been mired by the failure to deliver the infrastructure improvements promised, project delays, inequitable water distribution, service shutdowns, and allegations of corruption and illegal activity that have resulted in ongoing protests, official investigations and legal action. Despite these problems, the bank has declared the project a success and promotes both cities as models to be emulated elsewhere.
The week of action is part of a growing global movement to reclaim privatized water systems and prevent new deals from going through. In the U.S., seen as an expansion market for the private water industry, people in Baltimore, Maryland and Detroit, Michigan are organizing to oppose potential privatization contracts with Veolia, alongside partners from across the globe.



Aadhaar enrolment centre scheduled in parliament premises to appease Obama

Written By Gopal Krishna on Saturday, December 13, 2014 | 7:04 AM

Bio-Metric Aadhaar Attendance: An attempt to enslave the workers and Indian political system

In order to appease US President Barack Obama who is the chief guest on the republic day, the republic is being under put under surveillance the universal Aadhaar coverage, aadhaar enrolment camp for MPs is underway in Parliament from November 11, 2014. Obama's interest in aadhaar is quite known. Wikileaks had revealed that US agencies are closely monitoring the implementation of the project. Not surprisingly, President Obama visited Aadhaar enrolment station during his last visit to India. His delegation included the CEO of L1 Identities Solution, then a US MNC (now a subsidiary of French company).
The URL on Planning Commission’s Unique Identification Authority of India (UDAI)’s website that provided this news at the relevant URL-

The full content of UIDAI’s contracts with two foreign companies L1 and Accenture has not been fully disclosed under the RTI as yet. Notably, L1 was a Delaware, US-based Corporation when the contract was signed. L-1 has since been bought over by French corporate conglomerate, Safran Group after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) was convinced that there are no unresolved national security concerns with respect to the transaction. L-1 Identity Solutions announced agreement to be acquired by Safran on 20 September 2010.   Sagem Morpho, a unit of Safran already had a contract with UIDAI. As to Accenture Services Pvt Ltd, it is a "Biometric Solution Provider", a subsidiary of Dublin, Ireland based Accenture plc, a US company. Till 1 January 2001 it was known as Andersen Consulting. Both the contract agreements have been signed in the name of the President of India. While L1 was a US corporation, its Indian subsidiary had a registered office at 2, Frontline Grandeur, 14, Walton Road, Bangalore. Now that it has become a French company, it is not clear whether its Bangalore address is intact or not.  

Protest against the implementation of an anti-worker biometric attendance system i.e. an attendance system by way of biometric scanning by the workers and unions is underway in the Jhanjhra Area Management. Jharjhra is a fully mechanised mine of Eastern Coalfileds Limited, situated in Raniganj, district Burdhwan in West Bengal. A widespread discontent is discernable among the workers. The Khan Mazdoor Karmachari Union (IFTU-Sarwahara) [Mine Workers Employee Union (IFTU-Sarwahara)], has not accepted this system, being installed by the management and has decided to struggle against the installation.

Their pamphlet dated September 2, 2014 titled Bio-Metric Attendance: An attempt to enslave the workers reads: Comrade workers of Eastern Coalfields Limited, Despite severe protest by the workers and unions, the Jhanjhra Area Management is implementing an anti-worker biometric attendance system i.e. an attendance system by way of biometric scanning of eyes and the whole face. Apart from this biometric attendance system, there is also a hurried move to install CCTV inside the mines and offices and thereafter, provide the workers GPRS-enabled caps so that the management can keep the workers and employees under continuous strict surveillance.”

It further states: Let’s see why it is necessary for the workers to oppose the biometric attendance and CCTV installation.
First, via this system of attendance, the bio-metric machine will scan our faces and eyes and keep them online on computer/internet. This fact in itself is illegal, dangerous and worth pondering. Why? Firstly, because the scanned photograph can be, intentionally or unintentionally, misused by any agency (the one that will be privy or have access to the data.). For instance, if any terrorist organization gains access to this data, then it can be used with catastrophic repercussion. We would like to raise the question: in such an eventuality, who will be responsible? The situation accentuates in case of female workers and employees. It will cast severe question mark on their integrity and respect. Keeping these things in mind only, in a similar instance i.e. Adhaar Card (Unique Identification System) the Supreme Court gave a verdict, in which, it categorically said that forcibly implementing the biometric identification infringes on the fundamental right of privacy. It is a well established covenant world over that without permission no one, not even the Government, can keep physical identification of a person. The constitution of India, as is well known, prohibits any agency/management/institution, what so ever it may be, from keeping such data as physical identification of a person under its control and access without one’s due permission
Second Fact, we do not know, nor the Management has informed us on the radiations emitted by the scanning machine, but, on the other hand, the workers will have to undergo scanning of their faces and eyes twice a day. Very Strange! Who knows what will be the impact of it on our eyes and faces!! Whether management has undertaken concrete scientific investigation about it, we do not know this, too. We demand to know who will be responsible for the possible long term deadly after-effects of the Scanning Machine’s radiation.
Third Fact Apart from the above, let’s see how it will have impact on the extra time involved for the attendance of the worker. Let’s assume that there are 100 workers standing in front of the machine to punch-in their attendance, if one worker takes minimum of 30 seconds (though in reality it may take much more), then for the last worker it will take extra 50 minutes to punch-in his/her attendance. That means he/she will have to leave for the work 50 minutes before the schedule. Same will be the case for punch-out. Who will be responsible for this wastage of time and who will compensate for this loss?
Fourth Fact the confidence of workers is vital. In case of the machine malfunctioning or it being out of order, or if it fails to record attendance even after saying “thank you” i.e. in case of false recording of attendance, and hence in case of attendance dispute arising there from, what proof will the worker have in his possession to claim that he was present?
Fifth Fact similarly what will happen for driller, dresser, explosive carrier and short firer? As is evident from the design of things appearing through biometric, pressure on them to enhance workload is bound to increase.
Sixth As is becoming as clear as day light from the above facts, it is ludicrous as to why the management is wasting at all a fortune as big as thousands of lakhs or crores of rupees on installing the biometric system. It has been clarified above that there is no worth, as is being claimed over board by the management, in installing this machine; on the contrary, it is anti-workers, dangerous and one that will fuel unnecessary debate and unrest. Actually the main behind the curtain intention of the ECL managements is to have total control over the life of workers that is simply excessive and unnecessary. The way Jhanjhra management is after this lays weight to suspicion.
Seventh One of the arguments given by management is that it will increase production. The motive of installing CCTV inside the mines and offices, too, has to be seen in this light. In reality, the intention of the management is to increase the production by way of excessively pressurising the workers. The truth, however, is that precondition of increasing production is that workers must have a joyful family life. It is vital that the worker gets the necessary 8 hours of leisure, their homes are clean and healthy, they get proper transport and there are such safety measures as are necessary to make the mines safe for the workers so that they work without safety related strains in their mind, and as a result, they are able to work without any pressure or duress. But the management seldom thinks of bringing these qualitative changes in their lives. On the contrary, the management by all means tries to deprive the workers the fruits of gigantic leap hitherto taken in the field of labour-productivity and always does whatever it can to to convert the workers into an appendage of machine i.e. aims at turning the human worker just into an animal. Moreover, they want to control every breath of workers to increase the production. This anti-worker stance of management is evident everywhere. The management hitherto has not been able to even provide clean drinking water to the homes of the workers. Electricity supply is simply pathetic and the workers quarters are such that one cannot even use gas cylinder. The state of cleanliness of their colonies is an open secret. Under such inhuman conditions, how can workers increase production?

It concludes: The experience of the movement against biometric in Jhanjhra explains that ECL management is not ready to listen to the workers, to say the least. Perhaps they think, however they behave and whatever they order, the workers will follow their diktat. The management needs to be told that they should not live in this delusion. The history of working class is witness to this fact that the workers have always resisted the dictatorial attitude of the owners and managers of capital. Today the workers of entire coal belt and particularly that of Jhanjhra will have to unite against this dictatorial attitude of the management. The most militant union of the coal belt – Khan Mazdoor Karmachari Union (IFTU-Sarwahara) [Mine Workers Employee Union (IFTU-Sarwahara)] appeals to all of you that if we do not agree to our being treated as and turned into animals, then the only path left for us is that of struggle. Comrade workers! Come and unite under one flag and commence a new struggle. We are convinced that if all the workers of ECL unite into one entity, then we are more than capable to forcibly bring this anti-worker obstinate, intransigent and stubborn management to negotiation table and force it to accept a roll back of these measures as well as all other such anti-workers measures, policies and diktats hitherto taken.

By Circular No. Pers-CF/BARS/2014/508 dated 11th November, 2014 G Sujatha, AGM (Pers-CS), Durgapur Steel Plant, Steel Authority of India Limited, have made procedure of Biometric Attendance Recording System mandatory with insuring disciplinary actions. Hindustan Steel Workers Union, Durgapur Steel Plant are protesting against “illegal and illegitimate capturing of fingerprints  of employees and implementation of “Biometric Attendance Recording System” without any lawful authority and in violation of Article-21 of the Constitution of India and other related statutes.”

Their letter dated November 17, 2014 to CEO of Durgapur Steel Plant reads:

 Inline images 1
Notably, Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) and Delhi University College Karamchari Union (DUCKU) is protesting against the installation and implementation of Bio Metric Attendance system as well. 
 
By Circular No. F.1(92)RB/Div Com/HQ/2012/311-320 dated 12th November, 2014 vide Para 3 Inspector General of Registration, Department of Revenue, Government of NCT of Delhi has made Aadhaar No. / Enrolment Slip as necessary for registration of a document under Section 69 of Indian Registration Act. The said circular has been issued to All Sub-Registrar Offices Guidelines No. 3 reads as follows:

“3)       MODE OF IDENTIFICATION OF PARTIES THROUGH AADHAR NUMBER:
            Aadhaar Number/Enrolment Slip may be demanded to ensure identification of the parties. In case a person has no AADHAR Card but he is having enrolment slip, he should be permitted to avail the services, In case a person does not possess either enrolment slip or a Aadhaar Card/Number, he should be asked to apply for the enrolment of Aadhaar card immediately at the Centre and be provided enrolment slip and after that he can avail the services.”

A message titled ‘CVO Message’ by Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO), Delhi Development Authority on its website (http://dda.org.in/ddanew/cvo_msg.aspx) states, “Instance have come to notice where people purchased DDA plots/flats on the basis of Recommendation letter/allotment letter/ Registration certificate etc. but which has led to dispute at a later date.It is advised that General Public should not purchase any DDA plot/Flat on the basis of Recommendation Letter/Allotment Letter /Registration Certificate etc. as DDA will hand over the possession of the plot/flat to the original allottee only after verification of Adhar Card/I.D. proof etc. particulars online.”
Supreme Court in SLP (CRl) 2524/2014 Unique Identification Authority of India Vs Central Bureau of Investigation passed an order dated March 24, 2014 reads as follows:

                        “Issue Notice.
In addition to normal mode of service, dasti service, is    permitted.
                         Operation of the impugned order shall remain stayed.

In the meanwhile the present petitioner is restrained from transferring any biometric information of any person who has been allotted the Adhaar number to any other agency without his consent in writing.
           
More so, no person shall be deprived of any service for want of Aadhaar number in case he/she is otherwise eligible/entitled. All the authorities are directed to modify their forms/circulars/likes so as to not compulsorily require the Aadhaar number in order to meet the requirement of the interim order passed by this Court forthwith.

Tag and list the matter with main mater i.e. WP (C) No. 494/2012.”

The apex Court’s order has made it clear that no person shall be deprived of any service for want of Aadhaar number in case he/she is otherwise eligible/entitled. It is abundantly clear that the biometric aadhaar number case has become the litmus test to demonstrate whether rule of law still exists in India or biometric surveillance companies have subverted Indian legal and political system for good.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), Mb: 09818089660

High Court re-orders immediate closure of biomedical waste incinerator plant to save residents from public health crisis


Green Tribunal to hear municipal incinerator based waste to energy plant case on December 18

December 13/2014/New Delhi: Delhi High Court re-ordered immediate closure of biomedical waste incinerator plant Sukhdev Vihar, Okhla while the Civil Contempt Petition No 102/2014 filed in Writ Petition (C) No. 6976 of 2008 against S.K.Srivastava, Chief Secretary, Govt. of NCT of Delhi and Neeraj Agarwal, Managing Director /Director, Synergy Waste Management Pvt Ltd in the matter of Dioxins emitting biomedical waste incinerator in Sukhdev Vihar, Okhla. The next date of hearing is on January 19, 2015. The owner of company has been asked to be present in person after shutting down the incinerator plant. The matter was heard on December 12, 2014.
(Photo: Biomedical waste incinerator of Synergy Waste Management Pvt Ltd)

Justice V K Shali heard the petition that was filed under Article 215 of the Constitution of India and S-12 of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971 for contempt on account of the High Court’s judgment dated January 15, 2013 in Writ Petition (Civil) 6976 of 2008. K G Bansal, senior lawyer represented the residents.   

The petition was filed by residents seeking directions to the authorities and the operator to close down the Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment facility operating less than 30 Meters from the DDA Self Financing Scheme Flats at Sukhdev Vihar and other colonies and burning 12-15 tons of hazardous bio-medical Waste per day injurious to the health and the life of the 10 lakh public living around it and degrading the environment for all times to come.

Reacting to the Court's order, an elated Huma Hashim of Okhla Anti-incinerator Committee said, "This is a small victory. We have a big struggle ahead to get Jindal's municipal waste incinerator plant closed to save the health of present and future generations and their environment."  

"Though, it is success on the part of residents of Sukhdev Vihar, Volunteers and Advocates but it has come after a long suffering and struggle. People have paid heavy price for a bad decsion of the authorities. After this sigh of relief, major battle against the monster MSW WtE Plant, is yet to be won," said, Vimal Monga, former President, Sukhdev Vihar Residents Welfare Association (RWA).

"Synergy  had indeed applied to MoEF for clearance -  though this has been countered through a formal letter from Rakesh Khurana as RWA office bearer in Pocket B.  The RWA, Pocket B has also made representations to the directorate of health and to the concerned police stations," said Ranjit Devraj, a resident of Sukhdev Vihar and a senior journalist. 
 
"Its a great moral booster," said Asha Aroa another member of Okhla Anti-incinerator Committee. 

The Division Bench of the High Court vide the judgment dated 15-1-2013 was pleased to, “Direct respondent No.2 Government of Delhi and respondent no.7, M/s Synergy Waste Management Pvt Ltd. to shift the bio-medical waste disposal facility, being operated near Sukhdev Vihar, to a suitable site. The site suitable for shifting of the said facility in terms of this order would be identified by the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi, within three months from today in consultation with DDA and DPCC and the facility in question would be shifted within three months thereafter, i.e. within 06 months from today. M/s Synergy is permitted to continue to operate the facility at the present site till it is shifted to a new site in terms of this order, or 06 months from today, whichever is earlier. If necessary, any further directions with respect to the shifting of the said facility, in terms of this order, will be sought from this court.”
A review petition No. 111/2013 was filed but the same  was dismissed on February 27, 1013. 

Notably, the said six months period expired on July 12, 2013 but the contemnor company has neither stopped operating the facility nor shifted the said common bio-medical waste treatment plant and is continuously polluting the environment and is a threat to the health and life to the 10 Lac population living around. The company committed contempt of the Court and continues to do so.  

The Chief Secretary of Delhi Government has failed to ensure that the common bio-medical waste plant is shut down and shifted within six months of the High Court’s Judgment dated January 15, 2013. Thus, he too has committed contempt of the Court.  

The High Court judgment observed “It is not in dispute that the bio-medical waste  is a hazardous waste which can be highly injurious to human life”. 

The Court has ordered shifting of the biomedical waste incinerator which located in the vicinity of the residential colonies and the controversial municipal waste incinerator to an alternative site.

The writ petition filed by the residents of Sukhdev Vihar and adjoining area had sought closure of the biomedical waste incinerator facility primarily on the ground that being very close to densely populated residential colonies, it was creating poisonous and hazardous environment for the residents of those colonies, thereby adversely affecting their health and degrading environment for all times to come.

The judgment records, “As per the guidelines of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment Facility (CBWTF) should be located at a place reasonably far away from residential and sensitive areas so that it has minimal impact on these areas. It was noted in the guidelines that such a facility will require minimum of one acre area and, therefore, preferably should be set up on a plot size of not less than one acre.”

The order observes, “10. In Master Plan for Delhi, 2021, notified on 07.02.2007, hazardous waste processing viz. hospital/medical/industrial waste is amongst the industries, manufacturing of which shall be prohibited within National Capital Territory of Delhi.”

The judgment refers to ‘The summary of “Epidemiological Studies on Adverse Health Effects Associated with Incineration” would show that medical waste incinerators are a leading source of dioxins and mercury in the environment and there is link between incinerator emissions and adverse health impacts on incinerator workers and residents living around the incinerators.’

The observations made in the judgment will have far reaching implications. It reads: “Both older and more modern incinerators can contribute to the contamination of local soil and vegetation with dioxins and heavy metals. In several European countries, cows milk from farms located in the vicinity of incinerators has been found to contain elevated levels of dioxin, in some cases above regulatory limits. Increased levels of dioxins have been found in the tissues of residents near to incinerators in the UK, Spain and Japan. At an incinerator in Finland, mercury was increased in hair of residents living in the vicinity. Children living near a modern incinerator in Spain were found to have elevated levels of urinary thioethers, a biomarker of toxic exposure. “ It notes that “After 2 years of operation of incinerator, dioxins levels were found increased by about 25% in both groups living between 0.5 to 1.5 and 3.5 to 4.0 km away (201 people) of people. In the repeat analysis, the increase was in the range of 10-15%”.

It records that “Mothers living close to incinerators and crematoria from 1956 to 1993” showed “ncreased risk of lethal congenital abnormalities, in particular, spinal bifida and heart defects, near incinerators: increased risk of stillbirths and anacephalus near crematoria”.

With regard to “Residents from 7 to 64 years old living within 5 km of an incinerator and the incinerator workers” the judgment observes, “Levels of mercury in hair increased with closer proximity to the incinerator during a 10 year period”.

The judgment found that “Residents living within 10 km of an incinerator, refinery, and waste disposal site” showed “Significant increase in laryngeal cancer in men living with closer proximity to the incinerator and other pollution sources”. The “Residents living around an incinerator and other pollution sources” showed “Significant increase in lung cancer related specifically to the incinerator”. The “People living within 7.5 km of 72 incinerators” displayed “Risks of all cancers and specifically of stomach, colorectal, liver and lung cancer increased with closer proximity to incinerators”.

The High Court dismissed the contention of M/s Synergy Pvt Ltd is far away from residential localities such as Sukhdev Vihar. On inquiry it was found that the distance between the said facility and their colony is less than 30 metres.

The bench observed that “This is a mandatory requirement of the guidelines issued by CPCB, that such facility should be far away from residential and sensitive areas. This requirement needs to be strictly complied while identifying a suitable site for shifting the facility of M/s Synergy.”

The judgment is quite relevant for the upcoming hearing in the National Green Tribunal of the case on December 18, 2014 filed by the resident’s welfare association (RWA) of Sukhdev Vihar, Okhla against the municipal waste incineration power plant is being operated by Delhi's Timarpur-Okhla Waste Management Co Pvt Ltd (TOWMCL) of M/s Jindal Urban Infrastructure Limited (JUIL), a company of M/s Jindal Saw Group Limited. K K Rohatagi is the lawyer for the residents. 

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Convener, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb:9818089660, 08002263335, Email: gopalkrishna1715@gmail.com, Web:www.toxicswatch.org
Vimal Monga, former President, Sukhdev Vihar RWA Mb: 9810499277
Huma Hashim, Okhla Anti-incinerator Committee, http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/ghoslaokhla

P.S: In a related disturbing development, there is a proposal to set up a waste to energy plant in Green Park  behind J P Trauma Centre. Bipin Papneja of Green Park RWA has decided to intervene at the very outset to stop such harmful plants. AAP MLA, Somnath Bharti has expressed his opposition to such proposal.
 
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