Skip to main content

Moratorium on India's "most polluted" industrial cluster, Gujarat's Vapi, lifted; "reassessment" ordered

Javadekar
By Our Representative
In a major decision, which has raised the eye-brow of senior environmentalists, the Government of India has decided to lift the moratorium on industrial investment in Vapi in South Gujarat, which was found to be “most polluted” in September 2013 by the previous UPA government. Along with Vapi, an office memorandum of the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF)  has decided to lift the moratorium on seven other industrial clusters -- Ghaziabad (UP), Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Jharsuguda (Odisha), Ludhiana (Punjab), Panipat (Haryana), Patancheru-Bollaram (Andhra Pradesh) and Singraulli (Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh).
The office memorandum, put on the MoEF’s website on July 24, but strangely dated June 10, has asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to reassess the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI), on the basis of which the UPA had imposed its moratorium  last year, declaring them “critically polluted areas” (CPAs). The moratorium was imposed on these CPAs after the CPCB carried out a study of CEPI of 43 industrial clusters in the country, including these eight. Declaring lifting of the moratorium, the MoEF, in its office memorandum, says, it has “decided to keep in abeyance” the moratorium “until further orders.”
The office memorandum says, “All projects requiring environmental clearance (EC) in these areas will be considered only by MoEF”, adding, “The CPCB is directed to get the reassessment of CEPI score in all 43 CPAs, including these 8 CPAs, within a period of one year and report the outcome to the Ministry. It further adds, “The CPCB should properly demarcate each of these 43 CPAs by physical verification and clearly state the latitude, longitude, name of cities and villages and survey numbers (in case of part city and / or village) of these areas.”
Senior environmentalist Rohit Prajapati of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara has called the decision “inexplicable and un-defendable”, saying Union environment and forests minister Prakash Javadekar should take the blame. Prajapati particularly objects to the way the decision was taken. He says, “Javadekar’s ministry took the decision on June 10, 2014, but announced it publicly on July 24 for reasons best known to him”, adding, this is the direct result of Javadekar’s effort to “fulfill” Prime Minister Narendra Modi's “commitment to industrialists during poll campaign in return for their support to BJP during the elections.”
Prajapati, in a statement, says, “There has been consistent lobbying by the industrialists on the newly-elected Modi government, and specifically on the Government of Gujarat, to start the lifting of the moratorium from CPA clusters step by step. Ganpatbhai Vasava, Minister of Forest and Environment, Gujarat, on July 5, 2014, even prematurely announced this at a public function organized by the industries of Vapi Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC).  Vasava made a similarly announcement for Ankleshwar and Vatva of Gujarat also.”
Interestingly, speaking before the media in Ahmedabad on July 13, 2014, Javadekar said in a reply to a question on the issue of moratorium of Vapi, Ankleshwar and Vatva, that he “met the state government officials and has got a lot of material from them on the subject”, adding, in two weeks’ time a decision would be taken by the MoEF on the issue. Javadekar, however, kept studied silence about what “decision” he was going to take.  
Prajapati says, “The industrial areas with a CEPI of 70 and above are considered ‘critically polluted’ areas while those with a CEPI between 60-70 are considered ‘severely polluted’ areas. In December 2009 the CEPI of 88 polluted industrial estates was measured; it was then that the CPCB and the MoEF were forced to declare 43 of those as ‘critically polluted areas’ and another 32 industrial areas as ‘severely polluted’ areas. Following this study the MoEF on January 13, 2010 was forced to issue a moratorium on opening new industries and/or increasing the production capacity of the existing industries on the 43 critically polluted areas.”
Pointing out that in 2009, “the Ankleswar’s industrial area, with 88.50 CEPI, topped the list of ‘critically polluted areas’ of India”, Prajapati says, “In 2011 and 2013, Vapi industrial area, with CEPI of 85.31, topped this list. Thus, Gujarat topped in 2009 in ‘critically polluted areas’ in India and continued to maintain its position in 2011 and 2013.“ He adds, he suspects, while Javadekar may have taken its decision to lift the moratorium June 10, 2014, the Gujarat government was busy in preparing the documents for justification of the decision, hence the delay in announcement.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Under Congress rule, they wanted to have control of everything. Even for small project of making 1 kg Anti HIV drugs, they wanted people to go to New Delhi.

Laws were made in a manner that there is no way you can work under law. So honest people are forced to break law and indulge in corrupt practices. This is the gist in the manner Congress wanted to rule the country.

Laws must be such that they are simple to follow and the cost of non compliance must be severe. This is the only way country can progress. Not by forcing people and officials to indulge in corruption by making laws which are not meant to be followed.
Anonymous said…
there is a huge gap between the arbitrarily fixed norms related to environment protection. most of them are simply copied form western countries. the great rush to make such indices as final benchmark for interpretation of laws make it impossible for anyone to work for any sensible solution. such benchmarks are never met with in reality but are used only for convenience of policy makers to play with them for political ends. Every law related to river water, plastic, hazardous metals used in electronic products or mobile batteries or use of pesticides etc are flouted day in and day out. regulators are not interested in solving them but use them for retaining their power current. Few so called experts seating in Delhi use same laws, rules and directives differently at chosen time. How long such command and control will go on? highly questionable data of 2009/2010 are used in name of environmental laws. we wan to spend billions in Ganga cleaning but not use it to stop sources of pollution because that is politically not possible and babus have no guts to implement them
Anonymous said…
law making has become a profession. in today's cut and paste system, all u do is appoint some degree holders, ex babu, some university professor who has some 30-40 in consequential publications on his "Name" as experts on commitee who have to prove that they are THE experts by proposing great sounding targets and ethopean standards and feel gr8 about to talk in seminars. Babus and govt take no responsibility of its absurdity by pointing fingers at "expert advise" and slam it on people. Life goes on as it is but new specialists and vulture group emerge who will guide you to get out of this network at a hefty price. Who is interested in environment ? It is the subject that gives immense power to keep tab on others
Anonymous said…
The comments are not data based.If CEPI is beyond laid norms , it is enough indication of the gross violation of the treatment and disposal processes and the local governance. Industries should address compliance rather than blaming regulatory bodies.Now attempt is made to throw all cautions to wind in the name of development emboldening polluters.Community would pay the price of the long term ill effects.Only PIL can save situation.

TRENDING

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

Teesta treaty? Modi sends ball to Mamata's court amidst Hasina's mango diplomacy

By Samina Akhter*  Most Bangladeshi and India media reports say that the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has received 600 kg of mangoes from Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as part of her "mango-hilsa diplomacy." Hasina also delivered mangoes to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month, according to the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in India. In all, 1,200 kg of Amrapali mangoes were delivered to the residences of the President and the Prime Minister of India. According to a Bangladesh's deputy high commission official in Kolkata, a few more chief ministers in the eastern region will likely receive similar gifts. Last year, not only President Kovind and Prime Minister Modi, but also the chief ministers of West Bengal, Tripura, and Assam also received mangoes from Prime Minister Hasina. Hasina delivered mangoes from Rajshahi, including kinds like Golapkhas and Amrapali, as it is the peak season for the delectable fruit in

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Cops 'refuse to register' complaint after BSF shot landless worker off Bangla border

By Our Representative  Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convener, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), in a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), referring to the incident of “firing and execution” of a poor Muslim youth, has alleged that the 26 year old was was shot at “without giving any warning” one and half kilometers inside the Indian territory from Bangladesh border by an on- duty Border Security Force (BSF) personnel. Stating that the person, Ruhul Mondal, belonged to an Other Backward Class (OBC), and hailed from Ramnarayan Para village under Sagarpara police station in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, Roy in his representation said, the BSF person who shot at him is “attached with Singpara Border Outpost, 141 Battalion”, underlining, the BSF has now floated “self defense theory” to cover up its operation. According to the BSF officials, the incident took place in the jute fields in

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Protesters demand release of Teesta Setalvad, Sreekumar, seek review of SC order

By Our Representative  Protests broke out across India on June 27 following Teesta Setalvad’s arrest demanding her immediate release. Sabrang India , a site run by Setalvad, claimed she was “arrested on trumped-up charges after the Supreme Court dismissed the petition moved by Zakia Jafri demanding an investigation into the larger conspiracy behind the 2002 Gujarat violence.” The protesters also demanded release of former DGP Gujarat police RB Sreekumar, also arrested simultaneously. The protests were preceded by over 2,200 people from across the globe signing a statement demanding their immediate release. Leading signatories such as People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) general secretary V Suresh, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) convenor Medha Patkar, former Naval chief Admiral Ramdas. “The state has used the observations made in the judgment to falsely and vindictively prosecute those who had struggled for justice even in the face of state callousness and complicit

Electoral bonds scheme 'compromises' voluntary nature PM relief fund donations

By Rosamma Thomas*  The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is meant to collect voluntary donations from the general public, either individuals or organizations, to enable assistance to people in times of natural disaster, or for expensive medical treatment. That fundamental voluntary character of the fund, however, has changed in recent years.  The gazette notification of January 2018 announcing the Electoral Bond scheme states, in Clause 12 (2): “The amount of bonds not encashed within the validity period of fifteen days shall be deposited by the authorized bank to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund”. The Union government has, thus, through notification, directed funds to be deposited into what was meant to be purely voluntary. Commodore Lokesh Batra, who has been campaigning for transparency in government functioning, holds that once a gazette notification has been issued directing that funds be deposited into the PMNRF, the character of the whole fund has changed,

Bulldozing houses in UP: India isn't Israel, Muslims living here 'aren't Palestinians'

By Naveen Tewari, Sandeep Pandey*  A recent full front page of the advertisement by a Bhartiya Janata Party government declares, 'House is not just a word. It is a place where power to dream comes and aspirations are fulfilled. Home is much about dignity and security than it is about shelter.' It further goes on to quote Narendra Modi, 'It is my dream that every Indian has a pucca house by 2022.' The occasion was dedication of houses built by a private builder Balaji to the poor. Having witnessed over the past few days the now iconic picture of a bulldozer running down the Prayagraj house of parents of female Muslim student and activist Afreen Fatima, who participated in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens protests, one is almost tempted to look for a fine print at the bottom of the page to the effect that the promise of house is subject to the condition that one doesn't participate in any anti-government protest otherwis

Church in India: Rooted in patriarchy, Pope Francis-initiated reforms remain on paper

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is ‘Laity Sunday’ once again on June 26! A time for the Church once again to introspect and to see whether the much flaunted ‘lay collaboration’ actually exists in reality or not! In a highly clerical and patriarchal Church, which has stubbornly refused to accept in toto the changes envisaged by Vatican II and as desired by the then Popes John XXIII and Paul VI, introducing any reforms is certainly very difficult. But Pope Francis, in his typical style, is apparently succeeding in doing so! On March 19, 2022 (Feast of St Joseph) the ninth anniversary of the formal inauguration of his pontificate, he published Praedicate Evangelium (Preach the Gospel),his new constitution for the restructuring of the Vatican Curia. It was a reform that was promised at the beginning of his pontificate; several aspects of it have already been implemented over the years. The final document, however, does make some significant changes and provides the vision of a Curia that

'Highly abnormal': AltNews journo's arrest suggests 'deterioration in media freedom'

By Bharat Dogra*  Leading media organizations have come out in strong support of recently arrested journalist Mohammed Zubair. These organizations include, among others, the Editors Guild of India, the Press Club of India, the Delhi Union of Journalists and DIGIPUB, a platform for several important digital media organizations. All these organizations have condemned the recent arrest of the noted journalist and demanded his immediate release. While leading human rights organizations and political parties have also made somewhat similar statements, the strong support of media organizations is particularly important as the effort of the authorities has been to try to present the arrested journalist as someone who has been indulging in irresponsible journalism.  In such a situation the support of those media organizations who are familiar with his work and who are most capable of judging the quality of his work is very important. In this context it is important that some media organization