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Gujarat govt "not implementing" National Green Tribunal orders on clean environment, alleges eco-group

Counterview Desk
Paryavaran Mitra, Gujarat’s environmental groups, has taken strong exception to the refusal of the Gujarat government to comply by orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in cases fought with its active support. Prepared by Gujarat Social Watch, operating under the auspices of Paryavaran Mitra, its latest study, “Assessment of working of National Green Tribunal (NGT): With special reference to cases from Gujarat and western region bench of Pune”, has cited two such cases where the state officialdom has shown particular inertia.
One of the cases study refers to relates to Rajkot-based solid waste management plant, which has been closed following an order by the NGT to manage solid waste in a way that it does not harm environment. The study regrets, “Currently, the plant is closed down and the process of the waste management has stopped and dumping of the waste is done in open grounds”. It adds, “No action of management has been taken since December 2013.”
Taking strong exception to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board for showing utter indifference towards this, the study says, “The GPCB is sleeping over its duties, and the state government has refused to take any action “against the authorities” responsible for this. It recalls, “The NTG had strictly directed GPCB to see to it that the pollution parameters are not tampered by the authorities.”
Saying that instead of seeking that pollution parameters are met, the study says, instead, “The plant has been closed down, which is leading to more pollution. Instances of fire were also noticed by the locals causing threat to the public.” The contractors responsible for solid waste management, who were castigated by the Hanjer Biotech Energies Pvt Ltd (HBEPL), for failing to properly manage the solid waste plant, the study says, HBEPL “has disappeared and is no more engaged with the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC).
In fact, the study suspects that HBEPL and RMC have “mutually disposed of the contractual liability although the contract was for 30 years”. Instead of making HBEPL responsible, “The municipal corporation has invited new tender for the waste management”. The study quotes Shailendra Sinh Jadeja, who fought the NGT case for Paryavaran Mitra, as saying that even compensation ordered by the NGT, Rs 25 lakh, for polluting irrigation waters, has not been paid.
Jadeja is now considering to approach the Supreme Court against the judgment, saying, “An investigating agency or some higher authority to conduct probe RMC officials, because the latter did not work within the parameters of set for pollution control. There should be increase in the amount of compensation. Then, this is a clear case of contempt. The plant has been closed down, while the court direction said the plant should be properly managed. In fact, the main contention of the authorities was that closure of the plant would lead to the problem of large-scale environmental pollution, adversely affecting public health.”
In a second case, quoted in the study, of the manner in which the Environmental Clearance (EC) was granted by the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to the Pipavav Port’s expansion project, which was seeking to destroy the ecology of the region, the study says, “The project has still continues to violate EC conditions. resulting in increased air and water pollution.”
It says, “The road used by villagers to move out from village, which was blocked by the project is now partially opened only for certain time period (time fixed by the project). Also the cargos or containers which are loaded and unloaded are kept on open grounds. There is no special area for it and also they don’t have any area to place their cargos or the containers which are imported-exported”, the study underlines.
“These are kept on open grounds resulting in water pollution killing cows amd buffaloes. They have changed the flow of water due to which farm lands has became saline resulting in infertile lands in Rampara village. During construction activity for expansion, they buried the mangroves and dig it into land and claimed that there were no mangroves present. The fishermen depend directly on biological diversity of sea for their livelihoods, which was prominently near the mangroves”, the study says.
“As there was deforestation of the mangroves, the fishermen had to go further in the sea for fishing. Thus fishermen are affected economically especially in the Shiyalbet village. Moreover, they claim on papers that they have adopted villages and allocate funds for welfare of the villagers, but reality is they have not even provided basic facilities to the adopted villages”, the study contends.

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