Skip to main content

Ask Larsen & Toubro to stop work for building Statue of Unity in memory of Sardar Patel: Gujarat activists

By Our Representative
Several senior activists and intellectuals of Gujarat have taken strong exception to Gujarat government handing over the construction work of the 182-metres high Statue of Unity to India’s top project developers, Larsen & Toubro, allegedly without following necessary legal procedure. Wondering why was the Gujarat government in such a hurry, a letter to the Union environment secretary by two dozen prominent citizens said, no consultants were appointed to even prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the project.
Asking the Union secretary to “influence” the Gujarat government to carry out environmental assessment as also get environmental clearance, the letter – signed by Trupti Shah, Girish Patel, Mahesh Pandya, Ghanshyam Shah, Persis Ginwalla, Rohit Prajapati, Himanshu Thakkar, Nandini Oza, Prasad Chacko, Shripad Dharmadhikary, and others – wanted immediate halt to all activities related, proposed in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the midst of Narmada river, about 3.2 km downstream of Sardar Sarovar Dam.
Threatening legal action in case this is not done, the letter said, the environmental issues need to be solved because the eco-sensitive Shoolpaneshwar sanctuary touches the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir, and the statue would be just 3.2 km away. Then, it is not just a statue, there is tourism aspect also attached with it, which would affect biodiversity of the region, including livelihood of the people surrounding the area. There will be “buildings, hotels, museums, jetties, guest houses, roads and their cumulative impact.”
“It is an elaborate tourism project which includes the creation of a 13-km-long artificial pond which will be used for boating, a museum and audiovisual gallery, research centre, memorial garden, public plaza, roads, and railway lines”, the letter insisted.
Already, there is movement in that direction: “A board which has been recently erected in front of the helipad at Kevadia Colony mentioning the inauguration by the Chief Minister of Gujarat of Shreshtha Bharat Bhavan built at the cost of Rs 176 crore as part of the Statue of Unity near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada River near Kevadia colony.”
Pointing out that no public consultation has taken place, the letter said, there is also the need to understand that the Sardar Sarovar dam has been constructed on hard rock, and there is evidence that the area is close to seismic activity. The dam’s burden, it pointed out, has “added to the load in what is deemed geologically fault line area.”
In fact, according to the letter, “Public reports on geotechnical and geological studies on the proposed site have raised issues of structural stability as well as safety. This cannot be taken casually by authorities. The seismic hazard analysis claimed to have been done by a government institute cannot be considered credible unless there is a peer review”.
Calling all this “illegal” and “in violation of the Environment Protection Act, 1986”, the letter demanded that the Larsen & Toubro should be asked to immediately halt its activities, and the Gujarat government should be asked to submit application for environmental clearance, “and till that is obtained, not to do any work related to the project.”

Comments

TRENDING

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

'Attack on free expression': ABVP 'insults' Udaipur professor for FB post

Counterview Desk   People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, condemning what it called "insult of Professor Himanshu Pandya" by students affiliated with with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) in Udaipur, has said he was evicted from the class where he was teaching after raising "ugly slogans", forcing him to "leave the university".

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Moving towards sustainable development? Social, environmental implications of HCES data

By Dr Vandana Sehgal, Dr Amandeep Kaur*  Sustainable development, the high time agenda, encompasses economic, social, and environmental dimensions, aiming for a balance between all these aspects to ensure long-term well-being and prosperity for all. One of the crucial aspects of sustainable development is consumption patterns. Consumption patterns refer to the way individuals, households, and societies use resources and goods. Sustainable consumption patterns entail using resources efficiently, minimizing waste, and considering the environmental and social impacts of consumption choices.

Heatwave in Bundelkhand: 'Inadequate attention' on impact on birds, animals

By Bharat Dogra, Reena Yadav*  While the heat wave and its many-sided adverse impacts have been widely discussed in recent times, one important aspect of heat waves has not received adequate attention and this relates to the impact on birds and animals.

High on aesthetics, this 'pro-Naxal' Punjabi poet shunned sloganeering

By Harsh Thakor*  Surjit Patar, one of Punjab’s top progressive poets, whose life journey symbolised crusade against oppression, died of cardiac arrest at his residence on Barewal Road in Ludhiana, on 11 May 2024, at the age of 79. In Barnala, on June 9th, a gathering of around 10,000 persons for all walks of life was staged in his memory, by the Gursharan Singh Lok Kala Salam Kafla. An award was presented to members of Patar’s family.