In a major accident in the Turamdih uranium mine near Jadugoda in
Jharkhand, 3 workers died on 28th May. While few workers are
reportedly still trapped inside the mine, 10 severely injured workers
have been admitted to the Tata Main Hospital.
We are shocked by the accident causing such huge loss and stand with
the families and friends of the affected in their moment of grief. We
support the demand of the workers and the local community that an
independent probe into the accident must be initiated, and the
deceased and injured must be immediately and duly compensated.
This accident raises some serious concerns which the local community
and the larger civil society has been voicing for decades. The Uranium
Corporation of India Limited(UCIL) functions in complete
non-transparency and unaccountability. To cut costs, it compromises
with safety measures and employs contractual workers routinely in
dangerous work in brazen violation of standard norms.
The criminal negligence and contempt for the surrounding population,
which is mostly Adivasi and poor, is shocking. Toxic and radioactive
waste is left in open tailing dams and uranium ore is transported in
open vehicles. A number of peer-reviewed studies have shown high
incidence of radiation-borne diseases in the area. India’s present
nuclear regulator, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board(AERB) is
entirely unequipped and ineffective owing to its non-independence.
We demand that the govt must put a moratorium on expanding the uranium
mines and initiate an independent enquiry into safety and radiation
affects in Jharkhand, involving environmental experts, labour unions
and the civil society.