We congratulate the people of Chutka (Mandla district, Madhya Pradesh) for their vigilant and massive protest which has forced the government to cancel the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) public hearing for the second time. An earlier attempt to organise a farcical public hearing was thwarted by people's resistance in May.
EIA hearings on nuclear projects have been reduced to a complete farce. Done by unaccredited agencies, the EIA reports do not look into radiation hazards at all and deliberately avoid crucial details and fudge data. Even such farcical reports are not shared with the people in their local language and EIA hearings are declared a success by the district administration despite massive popular protests at their venue. From Jaitapur to Gorakhpur and Rawatbhata, we have witnessed the same unacceptable pattern.
The People's Charter on Nuclear Energy released recently in Ahmedabad at a national gathering of grassroots anti-nuclear movements has also brought the issue of farcical EIA hearings into focus.
We demand that the government revise and tighten the EIA hearing process substantially, While incorporating suggestions from independent environmental experts and social activists regarding both technical issues and transparency and democracy. Pending such revision, all EIA hearings should be put on hold.