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

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.

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.

Coal blocks for tycoons: Rinchi village tribals may be declared forest land encroachers

By Gladson Dungdung*
On June 18, 2020, the Government of India initiated the process for auctioning 41 coal blocks for commercialisation. These coal blocks are located in different states within India and most of them fall under Fifth Schedule areas. The Indian government claims that their decision to auction these coal areas is a big step towards making the country Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant) in the energy sector.