Another Bhopal? Sonbhadra-Singrauli has all the ingredients

AVESH TIWARI@PatrikaNews | 7 June 2016

Have you heard of the Sonbhadra-Singrauli belt? This region at the cusp of Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh is billed by many as India’s energy capital. What nobody talks of is how this belt is on the brink of a disaster that can match the Bhopal disaster.Another Bhopal? Sonbhadra-Singrauli has all the ingredients

The methyl isocyanate leak at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal led to India’s biggest industrial disaster on 2 December, 1984. Such was the scale of the leak that horror stories haven’t stop coming out three decades on. But have we learnt any lesson?

Doesn’t seem so if we look at Sonbhadra-Singrauli. The 40 square-kilometre area hosts some half-a-dozen power plants – both coal-fired and hydro-electric. Their combined capacity of about 21,000 megawatts (MW) cater to a large part of the country.

Now private groups such as Reliance, Lanco and Essar as well as state-owned utilities are set to add 20,000 MW more by setting up several projects in the next five years.

The belt also houses several other industries like an aluminum, chemical and carbon factories of the Birlas and a cement factory owned by the Jaypee Group.

But these impressive numbers tell just one side of the story.

FARMER TRAGEDIES
The Sonbhadra-Singrauli belt is also known for the plight of its farmers whose land has been ruined by mining and limestone.

This region is also home to over five lakh Adivasis. In fact, Sonbhadra is the only district of Uttar Pradesh where tribals are in a majority.

However, the fruits of industrial activity have barely reached these people with most of them find it difficult to make ends meet.

The region is traversed by eight small rivers. With the area accounting for nearly 16% of the total carbon emission in the country, it is of little surprise that all the river waters are completely polluted.

In other words, every inch of this land is prone to a catastrophe like Bhopal. The greed of industrialists, politicians and bureaucrats is not the only reason for this risk.

The media is equally to blame for this state of affairs. It will highlight Sonbhadra-Singrauli’s issues only after a disaster. Otherwise, it is happy to look the other way.

Enrico Fabian for The Washington Post via Getty Images
POISON FACTORY
The chloro chemicals division of Kanoria Chemicals & Industries Ltd, located at Renukoot, produces some of the most dangerous substances for industrial use. It was acquired by the Aditya Birla group in 2011 at a cost of Rs 830 crore.

It is estimated that the waste produced by this factory kills 40-50 people every year on average. Most of this waste is released directly into the Rihand dam. And the effect is telling on the surrounding population.

Thousands of residents in hundreds of villages around the Rihand Dam have been completely or partially crippled.

“Waste from the Kanoria Chemicals factory at Renukoot kills 40-50 people every year on an average”
In December 2011, 20 people of the Kamari Dand village in Sonbhadra district lost their lives after using the water from the Rihand Dam. Thousands of cattle had also met with the same fate.

Investigations proved that the chemicals released from the Kanoria Chemicals Factory had poisoned the water. Yet, the issue did not attract enough media attention.

Earlier, a gas leak from the Kanoria plant had killed five people in January 2005. The accident reportedly occurred because of the negligence of company officials.

Villages after village in Sonbhadra are falling prey to the fatal disease of Fluorosis, a chronic condition caused by excessive intake of fluorine compounds.

There is hardly a person in villages like Padwa Kodawari and Kusumha, who has not been afflicted with some of kind of physical deformity due to this disease.

HAZARD CALLED MERCURY
The power plants of Sonbhadra-Singrauli emit 1.5 tonnes of fly ash every year. This fly ash is composed of mercury that is extremely harmful to the human body. Traces of mercury have been found in the samples of human hair, blood and even crops of this region.

The locals have no option but to live with the impact of this pollution. The sun here is paled with the dust coming out of towering chimneys. A blanket of haze engulfs the air as soon as the evening sets in.

The pollution has not even spared the still-to-be-born babies. The death of children during the pre-pregnancy period has become a regular occurrence.

Yet, the state-run Obra and Anpara power plants are operating without any environmental clearance. The Central Pollution Control Board has ordered a close down stating they are ‘too dangerous.’

“State-run Obra and Anpara power plants are operating without environmental clearance”
However, nobody seems baffled with such blatant flouting of norms. The seeds of a Bhopal-like tragedy are being sown, not only in Sonbhadra-Singrauli belt but in every corner of the country.

The state as well as the Union Government is avoiding accountability in the name of development. For now, the Sonbhadra-Singrauli region is nothing more than a hen laying golden eggs for them.

While one Warren Anderson may have gotten away, there are many more in the making.

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/sonbhadra-singrauli-belt-is-called-india-s-power-capital-but-may-be-headed-for-a-disaster-1465284694.html

Advertisements

सासन प्रोजेक्ट को चीन और अमेरिकी बैंकों से फायनेंस की इजाजत नहीं

नगर प्रतिनिधि | जबलपुर
सिंगरौली में रिलायंस के सासन पावर प्रोजेक्ट को केन्द्र सरकार ने तगड़ा झटका दिया है। कोयला मंत्रालय ने कंपनी के उस प्रस्ताव को खारिज कर दिया है, िजसमें प्रोजेक्ट के िलए चायना और अमेरिकन बैंकों से वित्तीय मदद लेने की अनुमति चाही गई थी।
हैरान करने वाला खुलासा हुआ है कि िरलायंस पावर ने िवदेशों से फायनेंस जुटाने के िलए कोल माइंस को ही मॉडगेज (बंधक) करने की तैयारी कर ली थी। कोल मिनिस्ट्री ने शक्ति भवन से सासन और मप्र सरकार के बीच हुए पॉवर परचेस एग्रीमेंट की शर्तों का बारीकी से मुआयना करने के बाद इस तरह की सख्ती दिखाई है। शेष | पेज 12
मंत्रालय ने रिलायंस और प्रदेश सरकार को पत्र लिखकर स्पष्ट कहा है कि सासन प्रोजेक्ट के मोहेर और मोहेर अमरोही एक्सटेंशन ब्लॉक को किसी भी कीमत पर मॉडगेज बनाकर बैंक से ऋण हासिल नहीं किया जा सकता।
क्यों पड़ी जरूरत- िरलायंस पावर ने सासन प्रोजेक्ट के िलए अप्रैल 2009 में एसबीआई के नेतृत्व वाले 14 बैंकों के समूह से 14,500 करोड़ का लोन लिया। प्रोजेक्ट की कुल लागत 19,400 करोड़ के िलए 75 फीसदी िवत्तीय सहायता आईआईएफसीसी, पावर फायनेंस कॉर्पोरेशन, रूरल इलेक्ट्रिफिकेशन काॅर्पोरेशन, पीएनबी, एलआईसी, एक्सिस बैंक, आईडीबीआई, आंध्रा बैंक, बैंक ऑफ बड़ौदा और यूनियन बैंक ने मुहैया कराई। िसतंबर 2011 में सासन प्रोजेक्ट को कोयला उपलब्ध कराने प्रदेश सरकार और रिलायंस पावर के बीच अनुबंध हो गया। सूत्रांे का कहना है कि इसके बाद किसी फायनेंसियल प्रॉफिट के मकसद से िरलायंस पावर ने बाद में फायनेंस रकम को यूएस एक्जिम, बैंक ऑफ चायना, चायना डेवलपमेंट और एक्सपोर्ट इंपोर्ट बैंक ऑफ चायना से री-फायनेंस का प्रस्ताव रखा। बैंकों ने इस पर रजामंदी तो िदखाई, लेकिन माॅडगेज मांगा। वर्ष 2012 में रिलायंस पावर ने कोयला मंत्रालय से इसके िलए अनुमित मांगी। लंबी प्रक्रिया के बाद मंत्रालय ने इसे खारिज कर दिया।
िनयम में नहीं– कोल आवंटन नीति में स्पष्ट है कि प्रोजेक्ट को मॉडगेज कर लोन लिया जा सकता है, लेकिन खदान को कतई नहीं। जानकारों के अनुसार मिनरल कन्सेशन रूल्स 1960 का िनयम 37 इस तरह की रियायत देता है, लेकिन मॉडगेज उन्हीं बैंकों में मुमकिन है, जो कोयला मंत्रालय के शैड्यूल बैंक सूची में शामिल हो।
इस मामले की मुझे जानकारी नहीं। इस बारे में हाल फिलहाल कुछ भी कह पाना मुमकिन नहीं है।
-एंटोनी डिसा, चीफ सेक्रेटरी, मप्र शासन
प्रदेश सरकार ने की वकालत

रिलायंस को फायदा पहुंचाने के िलए प्रदेश सरकार ने केन्द्र के आगे वकालत भी की। जानकारों का कहना है कि प्रदेश के खनन विभाग ने केन्द्रीय कोल मंत्रालय को पत्र भेजकर कहा कि इसके िलए अनुमति प्रदान की जानी चाहिए। प्रदेश सरकार ने इसके लिए बाकायदा वह प्रक्रिया की, जसके जरिये यह संभव हो सकता है।

http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/?id=1000684&boxid=5173711763&view=text&editioncode=180&pagedate=05/17/2016&pageno=1&map=map&ch=mpcg

Torture in Police Custody

In the words of Sati Prasad:

“On the night of 18th September almost at 10 Pm I was lying on my cot. All of a sudden I heard police men banging at my door. I opened the door as they pushed me in and asked me to come with them for some conversation. “Bada Sahib kuch baat karne ke vaste Bulaiye hain” (officer wants to talk to you) . Then they took me to Waidhan Police station and I was made to sit at PARIVAR PARAMARSHA KENDRA. Every here and there police men started abusing me saying “Dekho yahi sala Neta banta hai” (this rascal is trying to be a leader) and started misbehaving with me.

At night almost at 1 Am, I was taken to Inspector chamber. SP was already present there. He pointed constable to close the door. Officer asked me to take off my clothes. When I asked why? He abused me. Then I took off my clothes and just in my undergarments I was interrogated. Officer asked me again- (Abuse) “what you would have done tomorrow at Sasan gate?” I replied- Sir I would have demanded in front of company. He said- Ok! We are company and the bench lying in front of you are men. Now say what is your demand? I said- “ I would have said the same what I have mentioned in the letter submitted to you people too”. Then he abused me and yelled saying now go on with your speech, pointing towards police constable as they started beating me. I shouted why you are beating me. Police officer angrily ordered to beat me with stick. Then they tied both of my hands and afterwards I was heavenly beaten.

Then later at about 3 AM in night they took me back to the same seat and made me sit for the whole night. In the morning they didn’t even allowed me to brush-up and almost at 3 PM in afternoon a challan has been made under the act 151 and 716.

Afterwards, I was chained and taken to SDM court where my father was waiting for me with his land Record book in hand. He showed it and got my bail. Ram Sarovar Vaishya (Advocate), Gauri Shankar Shukla (Advocate), Radhika Prasad Baishya (Sarpanch of Siddhi Khurdha) and my friends were also present on that that.

In the court, I was presented as accused by police. I feel humiliated and disgusted at that”.

 An Update

Yesterday on 24/09/2013 Security Officer B.L. Tiwari stopped Sati Prasad from entering in Sasan Plant. He said – “you are fired. Colonel Sahib and CEO Pathak sir has asked me to stop you from entering”.  Later on he was called by GAMON India admin In charge Mr. Vinod Mishra and Mr. Kunj Bihari to clear off his accounts. He was only paid Rs. 3,700 for 3 years work. Around Rs.46,000 has been deducted from his salary in the past years. His gate pass was also snatched.