Skip to main content

Allowing Nirma cement plant in Gujarat, Green Tribunal wants "wise use" of wetlands for "development"

By Our Representative
In a major boost to projects like Nirma Cement Plant, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) quotes the well-known Ramsar Convention to justify why even a wetland could be used for "development". Pointing towards the use of words "wise use", the NGT quotes the Ramsay Declaration as saying, “The issue of conservation of wetlands worldwide vis-a-vis development was taken cognizance of by the international community in Ramsar Convention in the following words: ‘Wetland should be conserved by ensuring their wise use'."
Even as allowing Nirma to continue with its cement project along a water body at Mahua in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, the NGT says, "Wise use is defined as ‘sustainable utilization for the benefit of mankind in a way compatible that the maintenance of the natural properties of the ecosystem’. Sustainable utilization is understood as human use of wetland so that it may yield the continuous benefit to present generations while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations.”
In what can be further termed as of significance for other projects like Nirma wanting to set up projects along water bodies, the NGT directed two top government bodies to study for two years how how to do “wise use” water bodies. 
Thus, it said, in its order dated January 14, that the Samdiyala Bandhara -- where the Nirma Cement Plant is being allowed -- to be “monitored” and “studied" for two years on the commencement of the project” by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), “in conjunction with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The "monitoring" and the "study", interestingly, would be carried out in close alliance of the Nirma Group, which is setting up the project. The NGT said, the GPCB and the CPCB would be financially supported by the industrial group, adding, though, “Liberty is granted to GPCB and CPCB to take assistance of such expert body/institution in the field of environmental monitoring of water bodies.”
Even as providing this conceptual framework for allowing the Nirma Cement Plant -- which was set aside by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) under the previous UPA government citing it would harm a "wetland" -- the NGT insists, the Samdiyala Bandhara is not a wetland at all, as claimed by the previous MoEF. 
It says, it is actually “a temporary storage of water, which gets used by farmers or gets evaporated due to its large spread, or gets percolated due to fairly high porosity of soil and as such cannot be called as a productive wetland having all perennial features of a wetland.”
With powers equal to a high court, the NGT said, “The revenue records described the area in question as a ‘wasteland’ and it was never, even till today, identified as wetland by the Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority and so notified by the Central Government under the provisions of the Act for the purposes of Wetland (Conservation & Management) Rules, 2010.” 
Hence, there was no "deliberate concealment and or submission of false or misleading information or data to the authorities according environmental clearance”, as argued by the MoEF.
In fact, the NGT praises the Nirma offer before the Gujarat High Court to “recompense” 100 hectares of land, 80 per cent of which was under submergence“, even as “deepening certain portion of the land and channelizing the storm water towards the water body.” 
Further: “We have also noticed that the project proponent have given up Captive Power Plant and Coke Oven Plant and the project is designed not to discharge any effluent or any material in the water body created by Samdiyala Bandhara.”
Pointing out these factors were “not fully taken into account” by the MoEF while rejecting the Nirma contention, the NGT said, he ministry decision was based on the the false premise that it was a wetland, reached by the Prof Babu Committee. 
“Prof Babu Committee recommended classification of the land in question as ‘wetland’ and ‘water body’ and observed that it had manifold ecological utility besides helping recharge of ground water, sustain rich biodiversity, provide pastures and support settlements and as such common property resource”, the NGT said.
The NGT added, “Revocation of the environmental clearance mainly proceeded on the premise that the environmental clearance accorded was founded on undisclosed and incorrect postulates mainly as regards the character of the land in question recognized by the Prof Babu committee as a wetland.”

Comments

Anonymous said…
This is as absurd a judgment as it can get when all their makers are paid highest possible bribes to come up with an outcome in favour of these private companies fully supported by modi government! Only god can save our wetlands and livelihoods of those who depend on them from such corrupt decision makers and businessmen running the government in our country!

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.