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Chemical industries in Central Gujarat "indiscriminately" using rare groundwater, meant for agricultural farms

By Our Representative
Well-known environmentalist Rohit Prajapati has alleged, on the basis of a recent survey of Lunia village in Vadodara district, that chemical industries in the region are indiscriminately and illegally using rare and highly scarce groundwater resources of farmers to continue polluting in the area. "It is shocking that even the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has no idea how groundwater outside the premises of industrial area is being used for industrial purpose", Prajapati has said.
In a letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, Prajapati, who heads Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Vadodara, says, the situation has lately turned so alarming, thanks to the chemical industries, that whatever sources of potable water were available are drying up, and agricultural land is getting destroyed.
Asking Government of India to declare chemical emergency in the region, Prajapati says, "The concerned authority should order in clear terms that no industry of the area will be allowed to use any ground water outside their premises and if any industry is using groundwater outside its premises, it should be immediately fined and prosecuted under environmental law."
Wanting the Government of India to use remaining sources of clean water outside the industrial area for farming and not commercial use, Prajapati says, "Farmers are suffering because of groundwater pollution. They should be given ad-hoc compensation per month per contaminated well."
Prajapati says, the source of pollution in the region is the Effluent Channel Project (ECP) of Vadodara, which passes through 24 villages along prime agricultural. known as the ‘Vegetable Basket of Gujarat’. The 55.6 km long effluent channel was commissioned in the year of 1983 to carry “treated” industrial effluent from industries near Vadodara to estuary of River Mahi, Gulf of Khambhat.
"The channel carries the effluent of Nandesari Industrial Estate and Vadodara Industrial Complex and other polluting industries . Since 2004 the villages around the ECP have experienced groundwater contamination at alarming rates. "The pollution began because of the seepage, leaching, leaking and overflowing of effluent from the ECP and later from a number of polluting industries", Prajapati says.
While several investigations have been conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board, and the GPCB as well as by various agencies, including those in April-May 2015, says Prajapati, the contamination of groundwater continued and even accelerated in Vadodara and Bharuch disricts, especially Luna, Dudhwala, Piludara and Vedech villages.
"Aside from conducting investigations and closing down factories for a few days, no effective action has been taken by the concerned authorities", the environmentalist says, adding, "The matter has not been considered seriously which has led to a crisis situation where the people do not have potable drinking water, water for their animals and good water for agricultural purposes."

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