September 21, 2011

Protests in India

As I write this post, there is uncertainty on whether the Kudankulam nuclear plant will be commissioned! Media and many politicians from the opposition hail people's power and some of the debates on news channels border on absolute rubbish. As many people are pointing fingers at scientists and modern technology /science, for various past accidents and disasters and therefore justifying the closure of the nuclear plant, what agonises me is that the government is let off so easily!

The main cause of such protests are very clear.... people are not against nuclear plants in Kudankulam or Jaitapur or use of modern science but are against government officials. Indians have lost their faith in their government.

This in my opinion is what needs to be addressed, the government needs to instil the confidence in people and demonstrate that their decisions have peoples' interests in mind; engaging with people and having meetings with activists is not the solution. Activists are always against "something"... they never have solutions; they never bother to introspect on solutionsJ. However, the man on the street wants to have improvements in his quality of life, jobs, etc.

I really do hope such protests get the government to start working in the right direction. I am so reminded of this same government that took such a regressive decision on GM brinjal, based on activism on the roads by people who didn't know the spelling of Biology! Now, this same government says the people on the street don't understand nuclear energy!! That's just the point; these protests are actually a blessing in disguise for all scientists working in modern sciences.

Confidence building measures (CBMs) are confined to action in Kashmir, but the need of the hour is CBMs across the country, to improve public acceptance and government credibility. Its time for the government to stop passing the buck to the poor scientists (pun intended)!

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