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‘Nuclear deal re-colonisation of the country’

Staff Reporter

Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

Raising the tempo: People’s Political Front activists on a dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Sunday.

NEW DELHI: Describing the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal as “anti-peace” and “anti-democracy”, the People’s Political Front on Sunday demanded that the deal be scrapped with immediate effect.

At a protest meeting organised at Jantar Mantar here on Sunday, the Front -- a newly formed political organisation -- complimented the Left parties for having taken a principled position against the deal.

Speaking on the occasion, eminent civil liberties lawyer Prashant Bhushan said: “The Prime Minister’s claim that the agreement would lead to energy security in the country is totally false for the primary reason that the United Progressive Alliance Government has not conducted any analysis on our energy options and their relative costs and benefits. It is the most expensive option as nuclear power would be three times more costly than from indigenous conventional sources.”

Pointing out that nuclear energy would lead to an increase in all types of other costs, Mr. Bhushan said: “It would increase the cost of storing fuel. We would also need to protect fuel from threat. And thirdly, there is risk of accident and its consequences would be catastrophic.”

Claiming that the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal was an outrageous re-colonisation of the country, the noted lawyer said India would become a strategic partner of the U.S. “After this agreement, U.S. can blackmail us by threatening to cancel it. So we will have to keep our foreign policy in line with the interest of the U.S.”

People’s Political Front member Sandeep Pandey said: “This country is not going to increase its share of power from the present 3 per cent to 9 per cent in the next couple of decades. The costs and problems related to disposal of radioactive waste have acted as constraints on the growth of nuclear energy worldwide. Most country that had been successfully running nuclear energy programmes are now phasing out their nuclear power plants.”

Asserting that India as leader of the Non-Aligned Movement and a vocal participant in various international forums including the United Nations has always committed itself to a nuclear-free world, Mr. Pandey said: “With the human development index of India miserably low, we demand that instead of spending irrationally on nuclear power, expenditures on health, education and food security be enhanced.”

A letter to Prime Minister on the demerits of the deal -- signed by Kuldip Nayar, Rajendra Sachhar, Aruna Roy and other intellectuals -- will soon be despatched.

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