- More than 80% of India’s nuclear and missile infrastructure based in the insurgency-hit areas or extremists’ dominated region
- Highly irresponsible handling nuclear infrastructure, wild Uranium presence become are of prime US concerns over moving further on deal
- Indian NSA Ajit Doval found to be on record to have admitted acute Nexal threat to naked nukes of India during previous government’s tenure
- Nuclear facilities at Tarapur, Tamilnadu, Kranataka, Utterpredesh and Gujuarat are permanent sources of nuclear radiation and deem to be ticking time bombs of India
- Thefts of nuclear material, Uranium as well as Nuclear Isotopes become permanent features in India’s nuclear world
- Growing Moist insurgency, Nexal dominance in India’s Red Corridor constantly adding to US concerns regarding India’s nuke safety
- DRDO Chief issue, Prasad-Chawdhary Network’s very strong and active existence keep Americans’ heads spinning
By Makhdoom Babar
(With investigations and input from Christina Palmer and Anjali Sharma in New Delhi, Kapil Verma and Pryanika Joshi in Mumbai and Jessica Zhang in Washington DC)
While the Indians are going flat and over ambitious to move further very quickly on civilian nuclear deal that they signed with the US government almost a decade ago, the deal is still in doldrums and the Americans do not appear to be showing any excitement in this direction. But why is it like this that after signing this deal despite very solid objections from Pakistan and many other countries, US is today is not even little thrilled to move further in this deal on a fast track or even on the routine pace? The Daily Mail has carried out comprehensive investigation to dig out the answer to this question with the help of a team of skilled and dedicated professional journalists.
According to The Daily Mail’s investigations, the Indian government, in bid to keep it maximum possible away from the striking capabilities of Pakistan that lies across India’s northern borders, decades back decided to install all its nuclear and missile facilities in the Eastern zone of the country. However, with the passage of time, the eastern region of India emerged as the most disturbed, fragile and ungovernable region of the country with a variety of insurgency movements including that of Naxal rebels, emerging in that very part of the country.
According to a map, graphed by India’s own security agencies, the eastern region and some other parts of the country have been declared as ” The Red Corridor” of India due to being unstable, ungovernable and being highly fragile, security wise. According this “Red Corridor” map, there are some 51 districts that are very badly hit by the rebels while the total number of rebel struck districts remains around 164, ranging from Dehradhun to Kerala.
The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that most of India’s top nuclear and missile facilities are located in the extremely Nexal terrorists struck districts of India, located deep down in the “Red Corridor”.
According to The Daily Mail’s investigations, in the direction of Indian nuclear facilities, Uranium processing plant by the name of Uranium Corporation Of India Limited (UCIL) is located in adversely insurgency and terror struck region of Jharkhand where Nexal guerrillas are dominating and are on the rampage, Talcher Heavy Water Plant again in the same area, Institute of Physics(IOP) again in the same area while Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research(AMD), Ceramatic Fuel Fabrication Facility(CFFF), Electronics Corporation of India Limited(ECIL), Mishra Dhalu Nigam Limited(MIDHANI), National Centre for Compositional Characterization of Materials(NCCCM), New Zirconium Sponge Plant(New ZSP), Nuclear Fuel Complex(NFC), Special Materials Plant, Uranium Fuel Assembly Plant and Zirconium Fabrication Plant, Seha Institute of Nuclear Physics and Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) are located in the most Nexal warriors hit areas of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Similarly, Fast Breeder Test Reactor(FBTR), Fast Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant (FRFRP) General Services Organization(GSO), Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research(IGCAR), Kalpakkam Atomic Reprocessing Plant(KARP), Kamini Research Reactor, Madres Atomic Power Station (MAPS), Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor(PFBR), Manuguru Heavy Water Plant, Institute of Mathematical Sciences(MSc), Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation Limited(SPIC), Tuticorin Heavy Water Plant, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited(BHEL), HMT Machine Tools Limited(HMT-MTL), Indian Institutes of Sciences(IISc) and Super Computer Education and Research Centre(SERC) are located in the areas, Indian government has included in the most disturbed Red Corridor while Apsra Research Reactor, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Boron Enrichment Plant(BEP), Central Workshops, Plutonium Reprocessing Plant, Purnima 1,II & III Research Reactors, Uranium Conversion Plant, Uranium Enrichment Plant, CIRUS Research Reactor, Dhruva Research Reactor, Hazira heavy Water Plant, Larson and Toubro, Hazira Water Works, Advanced Fuel Fabrication Facility(AFFF), Tarapur Atomic Power Station(TAPS), Power Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant(PREFRE), Beryllium Matching Facility(BMF), Construction Service and Estate Management Group(CSEMG), Directorate of Purchase and Stores(DPS), Heavy Water Board, Tata Institute of Fundamental search(TIFR), Rshtrya Chemicals & Fertilizers (RCF), Thal-Vaishet Heavy Water Plant, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing(C-DAC), Kiroskar Brothers Limited and Walchandnagar Industries Limited (WIL) are located in State of Maharashtra, which, though, is not included in the Red Corridor map of India, yet the whole world knows that Maharashtra is the hub of Extremist Hindu Militant Groups where Hindutva Brotherhood, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini and Sangh Parivar like terrorist organizations are on the rampage with added backup after the formation of the government of their mentors at New Delhi. All these Hindu militant organizations are very well known for their extreme anti-Pakistan policies and are full capable of getting hold of any of the Indian nuclear facility that exists in their respective state and region, when they are in power under Narendera Modi as well and with conspirators like Ajit Kumar Doval at the helm of such affairs.
The Daily Mail’s investigations further indicate that like the nuclear facilities, India’s maximum missile facilities are also situated in either the Red Corridor or in the areas, dominated by Hindu extremist and militant organizations. These Investigations reveal that out of India’s Missile facilities, Defense Electronics Applications Laboratories (DEAL), Metallurgical & Engineering Consultants Limited, Interim Test Range (ITR), Bharat Dynamics Limited(BDL), Defense Research and Development Laboratory(DRDL), Research Centre Imarat(RCI), Defense Metallurgical Research Laboratory(DMRL), Defense Electronics Research Laboratory(DERL), Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited(MIDHANI), Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), SKM Tools Private Limited, Pantex Gee Bee Fluid Power Limited, Sriharikota High Altitude Range(SHAR), Combat Vehicle Research & Development Establishment(CVRDE), The KCP Limited, Microwave Tube Research & Development Centre(MTRDC), Electronics and Radar Development Establishment(LRDE), Gas Turbine Research Establishment(GTRE), Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bharat Electronic Limited(BEL), Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL), all are situated in the highly disturbed Red Corridor while Terminal Ballistic Research Laboratory(TBRL) and Semi Conductor Complex Limited (SCL) are located in Chandigarh where Six separatists are running the insurgency movement under the banners of BabbarKhalsa group and Storage Site for Pirthvi-1 Ballistic Missile is located in disputed territory of Jammu where local separatists are engaging Indian Army and Air Force for the past many years.
The Daily Mail’s investigations further disclose that around 90% of The Red Corridor areas are just a No Go Zone for the Indian troops and Air Force. In these areas, there is no writ of the Indian government nor there is any proper implementation of State laws of India.
The Nexal rebels are enjoying full control and keep striking at will. A couple of years back, they killed over a dozen officials of Police and even shot down a chopper of Indian Air Force (IAF). It is also evident from the record of IAF that IAF has now started having commandos, airborne on all IAF chopper sorties in The Red Corridor to protect the choppers from a possible Nexal attack. Similarly the police officials have also advised the politicians and other VIPs to avoid flying over The Red Corridor in chopper and also not to travel in these areas without appropriate security arrangements.
The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that sometime back, the Nexal rebels set ablaze three trucks and damaged a bridge in Jharkhand as they began their two-day Jharkhand-Bihar shutdown to protest against the Centre’s alleged effort to put down the CPI(Maoists) movement by force.
To gauge the capabilities of Indian government to safeguard its nuclear and missile arsenal and research and development facilities as well as production infrastructure, The Daily Mail constituted a team of freelance reporters and photographers, based in different parts of India and embarked them on the investigative mission under the command of our Delhi Bureau Chief Christina Palmer. The team was given the test task of exploring the state of affairs at Jharkand which is considered to be hub of India’s nuclear energy programme. See what we discovered.
EAST Singhbhum district in Jharkhand, bordering West Bengal and Orissa, is the capital of India’s nuclear energy programme. It is rich in uranium that is mined by the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) and converted later into nuclear fuel for the reactors. East Singhbhum is also rich in Naxalites who are active in the area and well aware of the mines that produce uranium. Little to no security separates the uranium ore or the processed yellowcake from the Naxalites, who are currently extending their control, with the local administration officials admitting that it is just a matter of time before they strike the mines.
According to Superintendent of police N K Singh, “This district is on the list of Naxalite-affected areas. They are making full efforts to gain control over the Jadugoda region. They already have a very strong presence in the adjoining areas of Potka, Dumaria, Dalbhumgarh and Ghatshila.”
The raw uranium from the mines is processed by the UCIL in Jadugoda, a small town located at a distance of 30 km from district headquarters Jamshedpur. This entire region is India’s only source of natural uranium to feed the country’s heavy-water nuclear reactors. According to local officials, of India’s annual requirement of 300 tonnes of yellowcake, at present, UCIL in East Singhbhum produces 220 tonnes. Massive expansion is underway in the area to increase the production to the required 300 tonnes.
East Singhbhum has seven uranium mines and two processing mills that function under the UCIL. The UCIL campus serves as the headquarters for the mines, and itself has a processing unit and the oldest mines in the region. The Bhatin and Narwapahar mines are 2 km and 10 km respectively from Jadugoda. Turamdih, which has a mine as well as a processing mill, is 20 km from Jadugoda. The Mohuldih and Banduhurang mines are 5 km away from Turamdih. Bagjata is around 30 km from Jadugoda.
The Team Daily Mail, travelled on the same route used to ferry uranium ore from the mines to the processing plants in Jadugoda and Turamdih. The absence of policemen along the entire route was striking. There was not a single police picket or post. In Jharia, on the way from Narwapahar to Jadugoda, a large warehouse that is used to store explosives had no guard worth the name.
This so-called restricted area located on a small hilltop and surrounded by mountains and dense forests, is guarded by just four policemen in two bunkers. The sole watchtower at the warehouse did not have a single guard on duty. This scribe visited the sport several times on different days, but the watchtower remained vacant, always. This road is routinely used by the trucks that transport uranium ore mined at Narwapahar and Bhatin to the UCIL mill at Jadugoda, and is therefore a vital link to the mines.
The Team Daily Mail discovered, in the process that on 1 August, 2009, Jadugoda was preparing itself for a strike called by the Naxalites. News came in of heavy gunfire and the torching of a few trucks near Jamshedpur. A policeman at the Jadugoda police station said, on condition of anonymity, “Naxalism was always a problem in the district. But they have never succeeded in gaining ground near this town. But things have changed: the panic that you see among the people is a case in point. We all know that if they want to put up a bloody show they can. They are cowards, they hit and run into the mountains, but blood spills nevertheless,” said one Suresh Dualt, a local social activist of Chhattishgarh.
The Team Daily Mail discovered that it takes a 30 km bone-rattling drive to reach Bagjata mine from Jadugoda. Narrow and dusty road running through a hill-locked valley is marked with potholes and numerous bends. Bagjata is less than 10 km from Dumaria by road, and surrounded by mountain ranges that are reportedly under Naxalite control. SP Navin Kumar Singh, when approached, said, “ We, sometimes back, busted a Naxalite central office in Dumaria, Eight of them were killed and a large quantity of arms, including AK-47s, and ammunition were recovered.” Bagjata is under the jurisdiction of the Mosabani police station, and as RK Singh, who is in charge of the police force in the area, pointed out, “The forest areas surrounding Bagjata are the nerve centers of Naxalite activities. They oppose uranium mining. Recently, they confirmed their presence through posters pasted inside Bagjata mine and in the areas surrounding it.”
Team Daily Mail discovered that Mosabani police station is located nearly 10 kms from the mine in Bagjata and functions from a derelict building. It has a total strength of 55 policemen. Ramesh Kumar Singh added, “The mountain range stretches into West Bengal and Orissa, and encompasses and other mines. We are aware of the movement, but constant surveillance is literally impossible considering the terrain.” While the UCIL and the district police admit that Bagjata mine faces a major security threat from the Naxalites, the journalists’ team could not find a single policeman in the area to prove that the threat has been taken seriously. This correspondent just walked into the mine complex from the forest and was not stopped even once by any policeman or anyone else.
Walking a few miles through the paddy fields near Bagjata took our team to the Dalboonk and block. The villagers there appeared terrified. One of the villagers, Mangal Murmu had been killed, allegedly by the rebels. Mangal was vocal about the rights of the laborers employed at Bagjata, and one day, he was found dead. The police insist that the Naxalites were responsible for his death. RK Singh said, “His murder created further tensions between the UCIL management and the labor. The Naxalites must have factored this in.” The fear is palpable and we were chased away by the villagers when we tried to get a response from Murmu’s family and his neighbours about his murder.
The Daily Mail’s investigation team learnt that the radiation was a big problem in the area, yet it was going unaddressed by the government since 2006-2007. According to The Daily Mail’s findings, a new tailings pipeline burst near Jaduguda caused a uranium mill tailings spill that reached nearby homes.
The management of the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), at that occasion agreed to rehabilitate the 26 families affected by the radioactive waste that spewed in Dungridih Jadugoda. The UCIL also proposed a modern village in its leasehold area, besides providing the villagers with other facilities but nothing such happened later on. The Team Daily Mail’s investigations further discovered that during flash floods in June 2008, radioactive uranium waste got dumped into a tailing pond of Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) in Jadugoda of Jamshedpur, spilled over into nearby village ponds, wells and fields, and destroyed crops as well.
While UCIL authorities admitted that radioactive waste had spilled into villages, they maintained that it would not pose any health threats to villagers. “We are monitoring the situation. Our scientists are taking samples from villages,” P.V. Dubey, UCIL spokesperson told media in June 2008. “There will be no negative impact on human beings. The waste has been neutralized by the large amount of water,” he added.
Team Daily Mail found that since then the residents of nearby villages have stopped using water from their ponds and wells, fearing health problems and thus water scarcity has emerged as a huge problem in this area for the past many years is mounting up. Villagers also complain that the nuclear waste had destroyed a large amount of crops at that occasion and the impact is still there. “The waste that spilled from the tailing pond, destroyed our crops and the impact of that disaster is still there. If this continues, there might not be any crops in the coming year or two,” said Kannhu Murmu of Tilaitand village. Some experts also feel that the radioactive waste would also have a harmful impact on the soil for years. “The waste will get mixed with soil and in the long run would pose health-related problems to both human beings and animals,” said Nitish Priyadarshi, a local geologist, while talking to Team Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail’s investigations further disclose that in a shocking revelation, a team of the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) had, sometime back, come out with some bare truths regarding health hazards faced by miners working in the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in the form of a detailed survey report. The survey was undertaken by an organization, affiliated to Germany-based International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in association with Jharkhandi Organisation Against Radiation (JOAR).
“The study was conducted between May and August 2007,” said Shakeel Ur Rahman, the Secretary of the national council of the association. Conducted in two different phases, while one survey concentrates on villages within the radius of 2.5 km from the mines, a similar one was undertaken in villages about 30 km from the mining areas. A total of 2,118 households in the first category, while another 1,956 households were studied in the second category.
According to the survey, more children – about 9.5 per cent of the newborns – are dying each year due to extreme physical deformity, primary sterility is becoming common with 9.6 per cent of women not being able to conceive even three years after marriage. Cancer deaths in nearby villages are about 2.87 per cent and 68.33 per cent people are dying before the age of 62.
The Daily Mail’s investigation team found that the UCIL’s lethargic approach and inability handle such a sensitive programme of handling Uranium can be judged that the UCIL’s pipelines, carrying Uranium and that are always lying in open, have a history of leakages and bursts. According to these investigations, on April 10, 2007, a new tailings pipeline got burst near Jaduguda caused a uranium mill tailings spill. According to UCIL, the spill was caused from damage to the rubber lining of the tailings pipeline “by a wooden log left inside the pipe during replacement”, and comprised 1.5 tons of solids and 20 cubic meters of liquid; the spilled material was contained within the earthen bund constructed beside the channel and did not reach any water body or public domain. Similarly, earlier on December 25, 2006, the tailings pipeline carrying uranium mill tailings from the Jaduguda uranium mill to tailings dam No. 3 broke, spreading tailings into a tributary of river Subranarekha. UCIL then started cleaning up the tailings spill. The findings into the matter further indicate that on Feb. 17, 2007, two NGOs –Friends of South Asia (FOSA) and Association for India’s Development (AID) – submitted a petition to the UCIL and the Department of Atomic Energy demanding an investigation into the accident and seeking full remediation. The petition was signed by hundreds of individuals from around the world.
According to UCIL, the spill was caused from damage of the rubber lining and metal of the tailings pipeline “due to prolonged use”, and comprised 6-8 tons of solids and 60 cubic meters of liquid.
The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal further that in a few years back, Hiroaki Koide from the Research Reactor Institute at Kyoto University performed field trips to monitor environmental impacts of the Jadugoda uranium mine. He monitored external gamma dose rate, radionuclide concentrations in soil, and radon concentration in air. His results are compiled in a report available for download. The main conclusions are:
- The contamination from the uranium mine has spread in Jadugoda.
- The external gamma dose rate exceeds 1 mSv/y in the villages, and reaches 10 mSv/y around the tailing ponds.
- The soil surrounding the tailings ponds is contaminated by uranium. Particularly high contamination levels were found in the village of Dungridih that borders tailings pond No.1. In other villages, no serious contamination was found.
- Radon emanated from tailings ponds etc spreads contamination.
- Waste rock from the mine used for construction material spreads contamination.
Other findings include:
- The No.1 tailings pond shows contamination by cesium. This fact shows that radioactivity was brought in from a source other than an uranium mine.
- Product uranium concentrate is dealt with carelessly and was found dispersed at Rakha Mine railway station.
The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal further that The River Subarnarekha literally translates into “streak of gold”. But the only streaks in this river are untreated sewage, industrial and mineral wastes and unbelievably, radioactive wastes, affecting human health.
Radioactive wastes in Indian rivers is an undocumented environmental tragedy in India.
This once-pleasing river originates in the Chotanagpur plateau of Jharkhand in eastern India and finally enters the Bay of Bengal after a 452 km journey. Along the way, it courses a picturesque countryside, plunging 74 meters at Hundrugargh.
Though there are 15 water quality monitoring stations, the Subarnarrekha is a receptacle of wastewater (urban as well as industrial) from three major townships – Jamshedpur, Ranchi and Ghatsila. Organic pollution loads from the countryside pollute equally.
Uranium ore tailings from the Jaduguda mines operated by Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL), causes various degrees of radioactivity along a 100 km stretch. This has resulted in documented cases of deformities among human beings, but, the Indian scenario being what it is, precious little has been done for them.
“UCIL alleges that the deformities are not unusual to the Indian rural scenario,” says Manish Tewari, a journalist who had traveled to Jaduguda from Delhi. “It alleges that the uranium and deformity link is a creation of the media,” he says, unbelieving.
Curiously, no studies have been commissioned to check on the veracity of these reports and possible linkage with uranium. It’s all conveniently swept under the carpet. Reports would always remain confidential in any event, because uranium ore is strategic to national security. Anything related to nuclear science is treated as a holy cow that cannot be questioned.
Back on Safari to explore Uranium affairs in Jharkhand our team found that the road that connects Turamdih and Jadugoda is once again without any security presence. The processing mill at Turamdih was commissioned in 2006 to process the uranium ore obtained from the open cast mine of Banduhurang and the underground mines of Mohuldih and Turamdih.
Once the uranium ore is processed at the mill and converted to yellowcake, these it is sent to the Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad, Yellowcake is 80% rich in uranium oxide and is used to make fuel road for nuclear reactors. The UCIL plant in Jadugoda and Turamdih send the packed yellowcakes to Hyderabad by trucks guarded by the Central Industrial Security Force. Sources confirmed that the trucks travel via NH 33 till the Jharkand-Orissa border and then use the NH 6 for a few kilometers before taking the NH 5 to Vijaywada, and from there to Hyderabad by NH 9. SP Navin Kumar Singh had earlier told, “Ghatshila, Dalbhumgarh and Dumaria are the Naxalite hot belts in East Singhbhum.” And NH 33 goes through this same “hot belt”.
According to UCIL spokesperson P.B. Dubey, “They UCIL has been functioning here for more than 40 years and so far there has not been any incident. Moreover, we have security arrangements, the details of which cannot be disclosed.” When the question of the safety of UCIL trucks was put to SP Navinsingh, he expressed similar views: “This has been going on for years. There is no report of any imminent threat from the Naxalites.”
In 2008 Bihar police arrested two persons carrying uranium ore reportedly worth Rs 23 crores. According to Shyam Kumar, the then superintendent of police in Bihar’s Saupal district, “The uranium was on its way to Nepal. The origin of the uranium is unknown.” Security experts, however, have little doubt that the uranium is from East Singhbhum, while it remains a fact that the area is the only source of uranium in India.
Ajit Doval, a former Director of India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) and now the National Security Advisor of India is on record to have said “The Naxalites can easily turn their attention to illegal uranium trade for their funding. This is a real possibility.” He further added, “The end user of this uranium can be a threat to the country. Hence, it should not be treated merely as a case of theft. Rather, the Government must conduct a serious investigation and identify the buyers.” The case has not made any headway even after a year. Ajit Doval made these media statements when he was nothing but a retired IB Chief and the country was being run by Congress government under Manmohan Singh. But today, while being extra hyper in further civilian nuclear deal with Americans, he is tight lipped over this issue which amongst the core concerns of the US officials concerned.
The lackadaisical attitude of successive Indian Governments has been all the more evident from the lack of safety precautions at the sites. Just a few years, the pipe that carries radioactive waste from the processing mill to the tailing pond at Jadugoda, got burst for the third time in a row and this time near Dugridi village. Massang Soren, the village Sarpanch, told Team Daily Mail, “No UCIL official turned up until we started protesting. Our fields were flooded with uranium waste and we could see the danger we faced. The paddy field turned yellow and then red but no one came,” said a local adding, “For at least three months the entire village reported various kinds of health problems. Everyone in the village developed blisters on the soles of their feet and these could not be cured easily.” The villagers complained that the UCIL did not give them any assistance to clean the water and the fields polluted by the spillage.
The Daily Mail’s team discovered that at the Bagjata mine, tonnes of uranium ore lie in the open. Local activists allege that by using uncovered trucks to transport the ore, and by keeping the ore for days and weeks in the open the UCIL has exposed the entire region to radiation. Confirming their fears Dr SP Aggarwal, who heads the Radiological Safety Division at the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), says, “Uranium ore is naturally radioactive.” At the same time, officials at AERB refused to comment on the radiation level in East Singhbhum.
The Team Daily Mail found that a few years back, entire Andhra Pradesh had a near brush with radioactive poisoning. The trucks carrying the yellowcakes from Jadugoda met with an accident and overturned on the NH 5 near Narsannapeta in Andhra Pradesh. Luckily, there was no leakage of radioactive material. But UCIL officials dismissed that as a “one off incident” and continued to use the same mode of transportation.
UCIL spokesperson Dubey is on the record to confirm that there were plans to open a nuclear power plant near Jadugoda. He says, “The proposal is under serious consideration. But it is a lengthy process, so it can take a while.”
The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that during the past government of Congress, AJIT DOVAL spoke of the possibility of the Naxalites posing a grave security threat to the region because of “poor security and the Naxalites’ increasing influence”. Doval is also on record to have divulged that “There is a lack of political will to fight the Naxalites. We all know that if this region goes to the Naxalites, the nation can be held to ransom. If they just erect road blocks on the route which ferries the uranium ore they can stop the functioning of the UNIL complex in Jadugoda.”
The statistics accessed by Team Daily Mail at the district police headquarters reveal that very recently, there were 35 incidents related to Naxalite violence; 15 landmines, 500 kg of explosives and 109 pieces of ammunition were seized. At one occasion, at Peddagattu in Andhra Pradesh’s Nalgonda district, the Naxalites kidnapped 25 officials of Atomic Mineral Directorate for Exploration and Research before setting their equipment and machines on fire. Yet, the police superintendent and UCIL are hopeful that the Naxalites will not try to disrupt mining related activities, even though they publicly oppose all such activities.
A former Jharkhand Governor Ved Marwah says, “I think increasing investment is the right thing to do, especially in mining. If the Government steps back from initiating development projects in a particular region, it is only natural that the area will come under Naxalite influence.” When asked about the security threats that the Naxalites pose tot eh strategic nuclear programme in East Singhbhum he said, “If the Government is serious about fighting the Naxalites it can easily fight them:” He added, “When I was the Jharkhand Governor there were regions that had not been visited by the administration. I happened to be the first person going there. The police should be re-organized. With constant surveillance the problem can be tackled. Why should we refrain from starting development projects fearing Naxal attacks? That will give the wrong impression.”
Interestingly, the former Union Home Minister Mr P Chidambaram continued to deny the existence of “liberated zones” and the “Naxalite corridor” while Ajit Kumar Doval had been confronting him while now Doval, after becoming India’s NSA, is maintaining the stance over the issue that Chidambaram. However, the officers in the field insist that “There are areas where we don’t dare to go.” As Ved Marwah pointed out, “To fight Naxalism we need a realistic plan.”
The Daily Mail’s investigations also disclose that there are certain Nexal sympathizers in the ranks of Indian nuclear scientists who are secretly helping the Nexal rebels to learn to utilize and transport Uranium. These investigations reveal that N Mahalingam an Indian nuclear scientist from Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant in Karnataka was one of those Nexal facilitators. Mahalingam went mysteriously missing sometime back. After a few days, his dead body was found from a lake and it was presumed that he had committed suicide. The then Indian Minister for Home Affairs P Chidambaram, on the eve of the discovery of the dead body of Mahalingam, assured the public and the media that he will soon reveal the causes and reasons of the death of the nuclear scientist but he never come up with a single word over the issue, nor the current government has done so.
The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that Mahalingam was actually picked up by Indian Intelligence Agency RAW for doubts about his links with Nexal rebels but was killed due to a severe third degree torture during the interrogation. Later RAW people threw his dead body in a pond and informed police through an unknown call. The bruises on the dead body Mahalingam proved that he was tortured to death.
Apart from this, The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that the state of affairs at other nuclear installations across India is equally alarming. The investigations reveal that nuclear power station of Tarapur, located in Maharashtra has been a permanent source of cancer related diseases owing to continuous leakage of radiation from this nuclear plant with no attention by successive Indian governments.
The investigations further indicate that Madras Atomic Power Station in Tamilnadu state of India has operated in the past without environmental clearance. This plant has a severe leakage problem with its end shields.
Similarly, villagers living in 100-km radius of Kaiga Generating Station in Karnataka are found suffering from a host of diseases related to radiation, including cancer.
The Narora Atomic Power Station in Uttarpradesh has also put the US experts and IAEA strategists, heads over heals due to highly alarming safety loopholes over there which almost equates it with Chernobyl and Fukushima, as far as safety threats are concerned.
Nonetheless, power station in Gujarat, known as Kakrapar, has been a regular source of radiation since 2011 with no counter measures from Indian authorities.
Happening of such incidents and the absence of a plan and even security on the ground, a red question mark hangs over the future of India’s ambitious nuclear projects. This state of affairs, to a maximum extent, addresses the question that why the Americans are showing reluctance to move further with civil nuclear deal with India.
Apart from these issue, the recent discovery of Prasad- Chaudhary Network of Nuclear Proliferation and Missile Tech smuggling was still very active and was touching new horizons via India’s DRDO Chief Avinash Chanderna. DRDO’s covert cooperation in Iran’s nuclear, missile and space programs are amongst the core issues that are keeping the Americans at a rather snail’s pace in moving further on nuclear deal that they signed with India, fairly long ago. The Americans are asking India to “Do More” to end this state of affairs but every time they find some new addition to ridiculous nuclear set up of the Indians. Despite several other major issues, the above-mentioned situation emerges as a primary reservation on part of Washington.