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

August 22 to be observed as Apostasy Day: International coalition of ex-Muslim groups

By Our Representative
In a unique move, an international coalition of ex-Muslim organisations has decided to observe August 22, 2020 as the Apostasy Day. To be observed for “the abandonment or renunciation of religion”, the coalition, calling upon people to join the call, said, the decision to observe the Apostasy Day has been taken because of apostasy is “punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE, and Yemen.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.