Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture Collaborative Research Unit on “3.11 as Crisis and Opportunity” presents
Nuclear Projects in India: State, People and Protests Anthony Dias July 21, 2014 18:30-20:00 Room 301, 3F, Building 10, Yotsuya Campus, Sophia University
The ambitious GDP-centred development model adopted by the Indian state to meet the rising demands for goods and services of the aspirational classes, as well as for meeting export targets, has led it to for nuclear power. Of course, the state never fails to publicize that better economic growth means that the poor will benefit. Despite opposition from people’s movements, scientists, NGOs and committed individuals, the government seems determined to go ahead with nuclear power projects.
In the absence of full and honest disclosures by the state to satisfy the standards of people’s right to know with respect to the cost-benefit and the impacts of the projects on the environment, livelihood, safety, compensation packages and so on, the stage is generally set for a confrontation - between the state and people. Nuclear projects have been opposed by people potentially or actually affected in various ways: displacement by forcible land acquisition, lack of proper compensation, loss of livelihood, lack of safety, and so on. However, after Fukushima, things have changed dramatically, especially with respect to safety.
When the affected people doubt ‘public interest’ of the project and compliance with safety standards and challenge the government, the latter responds not only undemocratically but also in an authoritarian, repressive and unreasonable manner. Hence, invariably all the projects witness people’s resistance which employs an array of protest method and language. In almost all cases state’s might and devices prevail. The signs of hope on the horizon are people’s movement not only challenging dubious development but also coming up with credible alternatives.
Anthony Dias, SJ is a Jesuit priest of the Province of Mumbai and heads the Xavier Institute of Social Research (XISR), which conducts research on the rights of the displaced, the denotified and nomadic tribes, distress migration, environmental protection, climate change, and mitigation and management of disasters. Fr. Dias is deeply concerned about the communal/sectarian violence that grips the country and is therefore committed to inter-religious dialogue and harmony. He obtained his law degree and PhD while studying for the priesthood.
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