Skip to main content

BJP manifesto: Why shouldn’t social, environmental audit be compulsory for industry?, wonders top activist

By Our Representative
In a scathing critique, top Vadodara-based environmentalist Rohit Prajapati has said that the BJP’s manifesto has mentioned the word “environment” formally and casually at seven places (pages 2, 11, 29, 33, 34, 35, and 36), and the emphasis is on “decision-making on environment clearances” in a “time-bound” manner. The environmentalist believes, “The word ‘time-bound’ is clearly reflects that Modi’s main concerns is speedy clearance for the industries and not the environment.”
The manifesto states, “Frame the environment laws in a manner that provides no scope for confusion and will lead to speedy clearance of the proposals without delay.” Prajapati underlines, “This well spell-out assurance of Modi is to the industrialists that they should not worry about environment laws because he will remove all their hurdles so that just by filing some papers and giving some vague assurance they will get the clearance.”
Pointing out that this is the “Gujarat model of development”, which led Gujarat state to become “number one in pollution”, Prajapati says, to make things further crystal clear, the manifesto wants such steps to be taken “like removing red-tapism involved in approvals, to make it easy to do business, invest in logistics infrastructure, ensure power supply and undertake labour reforms, besides other steps to create a conducive environment for investors.”
Indicating that all these words basically suggest an effort “to mortgage the environment and labor laws”, Prajapati – who heads Paryavaran Suksha Samiti – quotes the manifesto as saying, “Performance review, social and environment audit would be mandated for all government schemes and programmes.” The environmentalist wonders, “Why shouldn’t social and environmental audit also be compulsory for the industries?”
Then, the manifesto talks of “sewage treatment plants to prevent the pollution of rivers.” Prajapati comments, this suggests it “is completely silent on the issues of river pollution by industrial effluent.” It says, “Cleaner fuels will be promoted so as to bring down the pollution levels particularly in the cities.” The environmentalist comments, Modi “is completely silent on the issue of air pollution by the industrial cluster in rural and urban areas.”
Prajapati underlines, “On the issue of river pollution there is only mention of river Ganga by completely sidelining the issue of number of severely polluted rivers of India, and specifically those passing through the industrial cluster of Gujarat. In Gujarat, rivers are ‘used’ for industrial and domestic effluent dumping. Constituency of Modi Vadodara’s rural area’s ground water is highly contaminated and it is red. If you travel just 10-20 km you can witness reddish ground water.”
Referring to the word climate change, the environmentalist says, the manifesto speaks of “encouraging research and application to meet the challenges of climate change and for forecasting prevention and mitigation of natural hazards, particularly floods, cyclones, earthquakes, drought and landslides.” He comments, “This clearly indicates the manifesto’s narrow understanding of climate change which completely ignores the impact of industrial pollutants on climate change.”
Prajapati says, “Same understanding is also reflected in Modi’s book on climate change which selectively presents information and data, convenient to defend the ‘development model’ being pursued by the state. The book completely ignores the information from the Gujarat Ecology Commission of the Government of Gujarat, and the press coverage on pollution in Gujarat by almost all newspapers over the last 15 years.”
Prajapati recalls, “Modi has included in his book on page 132-133 a photo of the Common Effluent Treatment Plant of Vapi, a facility which has not been able to fulfill the environmental norms prescribed by Gujarat Pollution Control Board since many years. While the photo is very large, there is no discussion about the functioning of CETP of Vapi. Modi’s book completely ignores the failure of all major ‘industrial effluent treatment facilities’ of Gujarat.”

Comments

TRENDING

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…