VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, who was elected from Kadapa district should stop uranium mining there, said former Supreme Court judge Gopala Gowda while addressing a gathering at MBVK Bhavan in the city on Thursday. “Rampant mining has rendered the area geologically vulnerable. Due to lack of proper disposal of radioactive wastes, people residing in nearby areas are suffering from radioactive contamination leading to deaths in many cases, Many people have been forced to vacate their residences and shift to safer areas,” he added.
Gowda said that post retirement, he is having doubts whether democracy is still functional in the State.
“After retiring as a judge of the Supreme Court, I started having doubts about the state of democracy in the State. Is there any respect towards the Constitution of India? The current situation proves otherwise.”
“The constitution grants human rights to every individual. The public has the right to question the government, be it at the State level or the Centre. In order to provide better governance and resolve ground-level issues swiftly, decentralised governance is required. It is for this exact purpose that the village panchayats were set up in the 1970s. However, their powers are now being exploited,” he added.
“Uranium mining is in violation of the citizens’ right to life as it blatantly violates the Constitution of India. The Environmental Protection Act which was passed in 1986, clearly states that there should be an ecological balance. However, reports clearly indicate that the people living near the mines are inhaling polluted air which can lead to deformities and even death,” the former judge said.
He questioned the government’s role in preventing people and wildlife from falling sick due to radioactive poisoning.“What is the government doing to protect the public? As a retired judge, I will not stay calm and will question the government about its practices. We have to ensure that fundamental rights like equality and right to life for all citizens are safeguarded,” he concluded. Activists, lawyers and students from across the State took part in the seminar.