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Dholera SIR public hearing held "without hearing all sides", was therefore "illegal": Environmentalists

By Our Representative
Two environmental groups, Paryavaran Mitra and Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), have written separate letters to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and the Union environment and forests secretary, respectively, saying that the environmental public hearing (EPH) held for the proposed Dholera special investment region (SIR) at Dholera on January 3, 2014, should be declared null and void, as it violated the Environmental Impact Assessment notification of 2006. The SIR is proposed as a modern industrial township on about 900 sq km land in the south of Ahmedabad city, next to the Gulf of Khambhat.
Writing for Paryavaran Mitra, its director Mahesh Pandya said, the EPH, which he and his team had attended, was not just “erroneous” but was riddled with a “with serious anomaly.” He said, “As per EIA notification 2006, appendix IV, Procedure for Conduct of Public Hearing, section 6.0 of Proceedings, ‘The summary of the public hearing proceedings accurately reflecting all the views and concerns expressed shall be recorded by the representative of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) or the Union Territory Pollution Control Committee (UTPCC) and read over to the audience at the end of the proceedings explaining the contents in the vernacular language’.”
Based on this, Pandya insisted, “This public hearing was put to end without reading the summary. Thus, this public hearing is incomplete and there is a clear violation of the EIA notification 2006. I request you to cancel the public hearing and take appropriate action.”

Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti's representation

In a separate letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, copies of which were send to the chairman of the GPCB, and chairman of the Environment Public Hearing Committee of Ahmedabad district (who happens to be the district collector), among others, calling the EPH as having “blatantly violated the EIA notification dated 14, September 2006”, PSS’ Rohit Prajapati also said, “January 2, 2014 we demanded the cancellation of the EPH scheduled on January 3, 2014 and submitted the details of prima facie inaccuracies in the present EIA report and unconstitutionality of EPH.” This did not happen, as there were efforts to stop a section of farmers to speak their mind at the EPH.
Saying that the PSS’ “representation was completely bypassed and ignored during the environment public hearing dated January 3, 2014 of Dholera SIR”, Prajapati quoted the Appendix IV: Procedure for Conduct of Public Hearing, section 6.0 (6.4) of the EIA notification, which states, “Every person present at the venue shall be granted the opportunity to seek information or clarifications on the project from the applicant.”
The notification also says, “The summary of the public hearing proceedings accurately reflecting all the views and concerns expressed shall be recorded by the representative of the SPCB or UTPCC and read over to the audience at the end of the proceedings explaining the contents in the vernacular language and the agreed minutes shall be signed by the District Magistrate or his or her representative on the same day and forwarded to the SPCB/UTPCC concerned.”
Based on this, Prajapati said, “The public hearing was ended abruptly by the chairperson and the regional officer of the GPCB, Ahmedabad (rural) of Environment Public Hearing Committee and at the end of the public hearing summary of the public hearing proceedings was not read, approved before the audience, which clearly violate the Appendix IV, 6.0 (6.4) of the EIA notification dated 14 September 2006”. Hence he asked for cancellation of the EPH, calling it “illegal and unconstitutional”, saying, action be taken “against the chairperson and regional officer of GPCB, Ahmedabad (rural) of Environment Public Hearing Committee” for the lapse.

Comments

pravin sheth said…
THANKS TO DTE FOR A COVERAGE OF MR MAHESH PANDYA AND ROHIT PRAJAPATI'S QUOTE.
I WOULD SHARE ONE MORE CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF HOW PROPONENT DICTATES LAW TO GPCB AND GPCB IGNORING IT ( REASON NOT KNOWN)
ENVIRONMENT PUBLIC HEARING OF 'SINTEX POWER LTD', ALREADY HELD ON 01 AUGUST 2012, AT DIST. AMRELI, GUJARAT HAS TO BE CANCELLED AS THERE ARE MANY LAPSES ON THE PART OF REGIONAL OFFICER-AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF MEMBER SECRETARY, GPCB, GANDHINAGAR, JUST TO QUOTE AS, REFERRING TO MoM,
01 PERSON WHO IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR ORAL REPRESENTATION, HAS ALREADY GIVEN AN ORAL REPRESENTATION AND RO-GPCB DID NOT NOTICE IT AND DID NOT BOTHERED TO STOP HIM, LATELY IT WAS PUBLIC. WHO STOPPED HIM.
02 PERSON WHO WAS VERY WELL ELIGIBLE TO FORWARD HIS WRITTEN COMMENTS TO GPCB, PROJECT PROPONENT AND HIS HIRED QCI / NABET ACCREDITED ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT MAKES HIM INELIGIBLE ON HIS OWN UNDER A WRITTEN REPLY TO MS-GPCB ( REF MoM ANNEXURE D5-PARA ONE) , THIS IS A CLEAR CASE OF VIOLATION OF NOTIFICATION AND INTENDED PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE PART IN PUBLIC HEARINGS, AND RO-GPCB & MS-GPCB WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING AT THIS LAPSE, UPLOADED THE INJUSTICE, UNFAIR, & ILLEGAL WRITTEN REPLY ON GPCB WEB SITE FOR PUBLIC HEARING. A WRITTEN OBJECTION LETTER SENT TO MS-GPCB WITH A COPY TO MoEF, 0N 25TH AUGUST 2012, BUT TILL DATE, ALMOST 15 MONTHS OVER, THERE IS NO OFFICIAL WRITTEN REPLY RECD. FROM MS-GPCB, CITING THIS LETTER REFERENCE POINT WISE, THERE AFTER A GRIEVANCE IS REGISTERED ON INDIA PORTAL FOR PUBLIC GRIEVANCE VIDE REGN NO. GOVGJ / E / 2012 / 00731 DT 20 NOVEMBER 2012, BUT NO RESPONSE FROM MS-GPCB, FINALLY, MoEF THROUGH CPCB FILED A PETITION TO MS-GPCB, ON 21 JULY 2013, STILL NO RESPONSE, IS THE PROPONENT OVER GPCB AND IS GPCB OVER A LAW? NOW GRIEVANCE FILED ON LINE WITH CHIEF MINISTER'S SWAGAT PROGRAMME FOR PUBLIC GRIEVANCE, GUJARAT ON 8TH JAN 2014.
THANK TO DTE FOR A COVERAGE OF THIS ISSUE ON 'WHO IS ELIGIBLE' ON DTE WEB SITE ON 1 DECEMBER 2012.
03 RO -GPCB CAN NOT SIGN MoM AS RO, BUT HE HAS TO SIGN AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF MS-GPCB, THIS IS ALSO NOT DONE IN MoM.
LOOKING TO ALL, THIS, THIS ENVIRONMENT PUBLIC HEARING ALSO TO BE CANCELLED, AND MoEF / GPCB /ANY APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY SHOULD INITIATE A LEGAL ACTION ON RESPONSIBLE OFFICER FOR IGNORING THE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW - A PUBLIC CONSULTATION PROCESS.
pravin sheth said…
Gujarat has to be free from critically polluted zones at the earliest and for that Gujarat Pollution Control Board has to be more vigilant, GPCB should not take credit on how many closure notices has been issued to industries by them, BUT GPCB should concentrate and focus on 'HOW MANY INDUSTRIES ARE TURNING IN TO ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY ONE, more over environment public hearing-a public consultation process should not be loose shunted as many minuite of meetings are observed with no. of lapses and violating environmental law, this was brought to the notice of ms-gpcb, IN WRITTING but it seems that there is no improvement, RECENT,Dholera SIR case as reported by two leading environmentalist of Gujarat, is a classic case thanks to them for sharing their views..
pravin sheth said…
Gujarat govt. should encourage senior citizens / retired experienced technocrats / environmentalists by absorbing them in GOVT /semi GOVT / GPCB / PSU / CORPORATE INDUSTRIES and offer them a second inning so that their valuable in puts can be available at low cost, it is very sad to know from print media that > 500 industrial projects are waiting for a clearance in Gujarat just for a want of a SEAC COMMITTEE, WHICH IS YET NOT FORMED, DELAY REASON NOT KNOWN AND GUJARAT LOOSING A REVENUE, thanks, pravin sheth, senior citizen, scientific & technical expert, safety, health & environment expert, readers views are welcome.
pravin sheth said…
14 September 2006 environmental Notification set by former minister Mr RAJA and approved by UPA GOVT, needs to be changed / revise / amend immediately before post LS poll 2014 as in this democracy, it has set a double standards that certain category public can speak and certain category public can not speak in environment public hearings-a mandatory public consultation process- what a democracy and divide and rule policy! it has to be vigilantly investigated that in whose benefit, such unfair, injustice & illegal rule on environment protection was framed, IN FACT, prior to this notification, every public present at environment public hearing venue, were allowed to give AN ORAL PRESENTATION,, then we can not understand why it was changed.
More over prior to this notification, there were three gesture and respected reserved seats for learned SENIOR CITIZENS in district level environment public hearing committee, which was chaired by District Magistrate , this respect of SENIOR CITIZENS also withdrawn in this new notification.
what we request to ruling PRIME MINISTER and next PM , POST LS POLL 2014, to restore the right of freedom of speech in environment public hearings for every citizen of India and restore RESTORE THE RESPECT OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN DIST. LEVEL ENVIRONMENT PUBLIC HEARING COMMITTEE , WHICH WAS EARLIER CHAIRED BY DIST. MAGISTRATE. readers views are welcome, thanks, pravin sheth, safety, health & environment expert.

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