Skip to main content

Citing industrial pollution, top environmentalist asks Centre not to lift ban on new industrial units in South Gujarat

Amla Khadi, most contaminated
 tributary of Narmada river
By Our Representative
In a letter to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), top Gujarat-based environment group,  Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, has urged the Government of India to ask industrial units of the Panoli Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) estate to bear the cost of Sanjali pond decontamination following dumping of industrial effluents, and pay for setting up two pollution-monitoring stations in village Sanjali and next to the National Highway. The letter has also asked the Centre to "strong steps" against units in Ankleshwar GIDC estate, for not doing enough to stop effluent contaminated rainwater from gushing from Amla Khadi towards Piraman, Ankleshwar and Diva villages.
Pointing out that there is a need to take "strong exemplary action against Narmada Clean Tech Ltd. of Ankleshwar for illegal discharge of chemical effluents", too, the letter, signed by senior environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, wants the Centre to continue keeping the entire area into “critical zone” till pollution issues of the region are not resolved. By keeping the whole area into "critical zone", the moratorium imposed on the region for setting up industrial units would continue.
Addressed to Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of State for Environment and Forests, and Secretary, MoEF, as also other senior officials of the Central Pollution Control Board, the letter says, "The residents of Sanjali and Piraman villages are distressed with the air and industrial effluent pollution caused repeatedly by the Panoli and Ankleshwar GIDC estates. The Gram Panchayats have frequently complained, phoned and submitted all proofs to the Gujarat government."
Prajapati informed the Centre, "During our regular visits to monitor the environment, we have found that air and industrial pollution continues unabated in this area." Yet, most unfortunately, "the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) chairperson has reiterated publicly that the GIDC officials were ignoring GPCB’s directions, and he is helpless about the situation."
He added, "The pesticides, dyes and chemical industries in Panoli GIDC estate surrounding the Sanjali village contaminated the village pond with its untreated chemical waste in the past as also this year during monsoon in July. Though this happens frequently, the Gujarat government and the GPCB only take token measures." Worse, though contamination of the can be termed a disaster, the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority "also remains apathetic." 
On July 21, 2013 Prajapati said, he accompanied by Kantibhai Mistry, Zia Pathan of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Salimbhai Patel, deputy Sarpanch of Piraman village, Hitesh Baraiya, a senior assistant scientist of GPCB and others had visited Sanjali, Panoli and Ankleshwar. "During the visit, the red-yellow coloured industrial effluents of the Panoli GIDC industries could be seen in the Sanjali village", forcing the GPCB to take samples. 
"The untreated industrial effluent discharge from the Panoli GIDC could be seen flowing unabated across various village roads in Panoli GIDC. The GPCB authorities too were taken aback with such blatant flouting of rules by the industries. Villagers upset with the air pollution vented their anger before the visiting GPCB officials. They have lost confidence in the state government and the GPCB, which is indifferent towards blatant flouting of rules by the industries", Prajapati said.
Pointing out that the Narmada Clean Tech Ltd runs the final effluent treatment plant and monitors the chemical discharge in the Ankleshwar and Panoli GIDC estates and is empowered to fine the industries for violations as well, Prapapati further alleged, "the Narmada Clean Tech Ltd itself discharges untreated waste illegally in Amla Khadi, a fact accepted by the GPCB". Given this framework, he wondered, "How can one expect it to hold up the rulebook? It raises a fundamental question, who and when will take action against the Narmada Clean Tech Ltd?"
Prajapati further said, on July 20, 2013, when Piraman deputy Sarpanch Mr. Salimbhai Patel sought an answer from the Narmada Clean Tech Ltd authorities for repeated discharge of untreated industrial waste, and they replied that they were "not discharging it in Amla Khadi", when on the very same day, at 3 30 pm, Salimbhai Patel risking his personal wellbeing, trekked all the way in Amla Khadi to photograph and video record the discharge.
All this is happening when the Gujarat government and the industries of Ankleshwar, Panoli and Jhagadia GIDC estates are trying "with all their might to remove their area from critical zone tag; they do nothing to improve the much-needed critical infrastructure for pollution control," Prajapti said, adding, "Both, the government and the GPCB have failed to take any long term, deterrent measures against the polluting industries of the area." 

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.