Jadugoda, a tribal town located in the mineral-rich East Singhbum district of Jharkhand, which caters to the rising demand of the nuclear energy in the country, is in a state of misery.
Reason being, its uranium rich mines are exposing its tribal population to radiation and making them prone to diseases like cancer, skin infection, physical deformities, blindness and brain damage.
Villagers are evicted from their lands, made to work as miners and exposed to a heavy dose of radiation. Bringing this deplorable condition of Jadugoda into light, the documentary Toxic Neglect by Ranchi-based filmmaker Shri Prakash was an eye-opener for many who became a part of the recently-concluded International Travelling Uranium Film Festival, held at Siri Fort.
Bringing such crucial issues related to nuclear energy and radioactivity into light from all across the globe, the three-day festival kick started with the screening of Atomic Bombs on the Planet Earth by director Peter Greenway. The 14-minute documentary is on atomic bombs exploded on Earth. Surprisingly, from 1945 to 1989, 2,201 atomic bombs have been dropped.
It was followed by 75-minute long movie Into Eternity by Michael Madsen. It brought to light the problem of nuclear waste management in Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant on the island of Olkiluoto, Finland. After travelling from Portugal and Germany, the festival reached the capital last week.
More than 30 movies screened at the festival come from USA, Germany, Italy, Ukraine and Poland and ranged from documentary, fiction and animations. Each one of them focused on the problem of excessive radiation, contamination of water, land and air, destruction of the local ecology, and the genetic mutation that are caused by power plants in different parts of the world. Besides, the well-known Chernobyl: The Invisible Thief revived memories of the explosion that occurred at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.
“In 2006, I attended an international meeting on uranium mining in US where I saw many films related to mining and radiation problems. The screening of these documentaries were not common at that time. I realised that they should be watched by general public also. The only way was to conduct a film festival which made me come up with the concept of Uranium film festival,” says Norbert G. Suchanek, festival director, an environmental journalist and a filmmaker.
Meanwhile, Shri Prakash, the festival director, says, “Every documentary screened showcases nuclear problems in different part of the continent. It will definitely stimulate the production of new documentaries, movies and animated films about nuclear or radioactive issue.”
The festival will now travel to Shillong, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai , Chennai and Thrissur in January and February and will reach Rio de Janeiro in May.