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Senior activists wonder how can Kalpasar start when no environmental or CRZ clearance has been obtained

By Our Representative
Senior activists of Gujarat have alleged that the Narendra Modi government wants to begin work on the controversial Kalpasar project, which seeks to dam the Gulf of Khambhat, despite the fact that it has not yet complied with the Government of India's Environmental Impact Assessment Notification on September 14, 2006. The project falls under Category ‘A’, 1 (c), i.e. a river and valley project which requires prior environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on the recommendations of Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) constituted by the GoI.
In a statement, the activists Indukumar Jani, Mahesh Pandya and Gautam Thaker said, “Summary record of discussions of the 38th and 39th meeting of expert appraisal committee (AEC) held on June 30, 2010 and July 17, 2010 in New Delhi constituted under the provision of the EIA notification of 2006 shows that the proponents of the project did not attend any of its meetings." Also, the "summary record of discussion of the 41st meeting of EAC held on September 24-25, 2010 in New Delhi also showed that the committee considered the documentation provided for allowing scoping highly inadequate wand wanting it to be more holistic.”
The statement says, while the ninth meeting of the Expert Advisory Group (EAG), Kalpasar, held at Ahmedabad on July 17-19, 2012 concluded that the EAG had accepted the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute’s (NEERI’s) report on Environmental Impact and Risk Assessment (EIRA),which is an environment clearance requirement, so far there has been no progress thereafter. In fact, the report has not been submitted to the MoEF, which should give additional terms of reference, if required.
"The whole process of environmental clearance may require 270 days if all formalities / procedures are followed correctly as per EIA notification, 2006. In addition to this the project has to obtain Consent to Operate from State Pollution Control Board only after which tenders can be floated”, the statement underlines.
“Even then, while speaking at the Krishi Mahostav on May 18, 2013, Modi spoke of Rs.3,400 crore project for building Narmada water reservoir between Kevadiya colony to Bhadbhut barrage, linking it with Kalpsar project, while on May 5, 2013, he said that a tender for Rs 4,000 crore works on Bhadbhut barrage would be floated soon”, the statement says, wondering, “How can he give such irresponsible statement to misguide public by giving two different figures with a difference of Rs 600 crore for the same project?”
The statement further accuses the government of misleading the public. “At the Gujarat legislative assembly, on March 13, 2013, answering a starred question, MLA from Mansinh Chauhan asked questions regarding Kalpasar project to the CM, to which he was told that 80 per cent of EIA had been completed and environmental and CRZ clearances are in their last phase and statutory clearances required for the project will be obtained at the earliest”, the statement says.
“At the same time, in the same assembly session, the government stated that land acquisition has already been started whereas in the Kalpasar website it is written that creation of this fresh water reservoir does not involve any land acquisition or rehabilitation of people. Both of these statements are contradictory”, it adds. “Again in the same session, it was stated that construction of Bhadbhut barrage would start in 2013-2014. The question is: How constructed can be started without environmental or CRZ clearances?”
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