Skip to main content

Gujarat activists: Vadodara riverfront project "begun" sans environmental nod, violates wildlife law

By Our Representative
A group of prominent citizens, including environmentalists, wildlife experts, lawyers, engineers, town planners and architects of Gujarat’s cultural capital, Vadodara, have alleged that the state authorities have begun the work of “developing” the riverfront Vishamitri, which meanders through the city, without any environmental clearance (EC), despite an earlier assurance.
Led by well-known environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, a letter signed by them to the Union environment secretary, says that on September 19, 2015, they were “informed” that the riverfront project would not commence before EC, which would be preceded by environmental impact assessment (EIA), social impact assessment (SIA) and environment public hearing (EPH).
Others who have signed the letter include advocate Nakul Pradhan, landscape architect Dr Shishir Raval, architect Neha Sarwate, engineer Deepali Gheliani, Wildlife Advisory Board member Smita Pradhan, environmental activists Krishnakant and economist Swati Desai.
The letter, a copy of which has been sent to the Gujarat chief secretary, other senior officials of the state government and the Vadodara municipal commissioner,  says that riverfront project “completely ignores the important characteristics of the river, its wetlands, ravines, inter-connectivity with other water bodies, biodiversity, flora and fauna, flood and floodplains etc.”
Accusing the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) of using public funds for allowing construction, the letter says, little care has been taken to clear “dumping activities in the river and its immediate environs, such as ravines, etc.”
“The VMC fails to understand the fact that the first step in any effort for the revival of the Vishwamitri River must acknowledge that a river is more than a channel carrying water; it is also a transporter of sediment; it consists of catchments, floodplains, river-bed, adjoining ravines, which along with the vegetation on both sides, is the river’s natural mechanism to retain the additional water, prevent floods and provide habitat for wildlife”, the letter says.
Originating in the historic Pavagadh hills, the river consists of a protected species, the Indian crocodile, which has been “inhabiting and breeding in stretches of the Vishwamitri River for thousands of years”, the letter says.
The wildlife proect Act, 1972, stipulates that “injuring or destroying or taking any part of the body or any such animal or in the case of wild birds or reptiles, damaging the eggs or such birds or reptiles, or disturbing the eggs or nests of such birds or reptiles”, the letter says.
It contends, “The activities carried out in the name of the Vishwamitri Riverfront Development Project, especially proposed construction activities vis-a-vis JCB dumper, etc., have the potential to destroy the natural ecosystem and habitat (its breeding grounds and nests) of the crocodile and other species."
This, according to the letter, is happening in complete disregard of the fact that “much drummed up flood stories from Vadodara are also actually less about natural floods and more about human follies and official negligence”, allowing natural water bodies to be used as “dumping grounds”. In eight instances over the last 21 years, Vishwamitri’s level at Kala Ghoda bridge gauging station showed its level above 26’ – the flood alert level.
“Further”, the letter says, in order to begin the project more than 5,000 people have been displaced, and many more are expected to be displaced. These include slums in Sama (Sanjay Nagar 1&2), Indiranagar, Manjalpur (Bajaniyavaas), Chhani (Soniyanagar), Jamwadi (Sayajiganj), Sainathnagar (Danteshwar), and Fatehganj (Kalyan Nagar).

Comments

Drrkd Goel said…
We are concerned for our loot of Public money only in all VMCC Vadodara projects.In 2008 Mr. Balkrishna Sukla, the thn BJP Mayor visited London with two VMC officer to see Tom River of London to make the Vishwa Mitri same as of London. Only 500 crocodiles are there they will be catches by our Fire department officers and leave them to Ajwa reservoir. WE are Concerned only how to lot public money for self and for BJP Party funds as well as to send money to Nagpur to please our RSS parent organisation.
Drrkd Goel said…
As on today Vishwamitri River Vadodara is having 4500 slum. No land to rehabilitate. PREPARED IN 2008, Vishwamitri River front plan. Not possible.‏
From: Dr.R.K.D. Goel (drrkdgoel@hotmail.com)
Sent: 15 June 2013 13:10PM
To: G.R. Aloria IAS Principal Secretary UD&UH (securban@gujarat.gov.in); Manish Bhardwaj IAS,Mun.Comm.VMSS (vmccomm@gmail.com); Vinod Rao IAS (collector-vad@gujarat.gov.in); Varesh Sinha IAS Chief Secretary (csguj@gujarat.gov.in); Anandiben Patel Minister Revenue deptt. (min-rev@gujarat.gov.in); Section officer UD&UH deptt. (so-p-ud@gujarat.gov.in); P.L. Sharma,joint Secretary,UD&UH (osd-udd@gujarat.gov.in); Secretary Rev deptt. Land reform (seclr@gujarat.gpv.in); CL Meena IAS (secrev@gujarat.gov.in); Dr.R Bannerji (ceo-gsdma@gujarat.gov.in)
Cc: Shailesh Mistry City engineer (ce_vmc@yahoo.com); Jyoti Pandya (mayorvmss@gmail.com); Dr.Vijay Shah (induhealth@gmail.com); Dr.J.S. Bandukwala (drbandukwala@yahoo.co.in); Triputi Shah PUCL (trupti.vadodara@gmail.com); Rohit Prajapati Environmentalist (rohit.prajapati@gmail.com); Chintan Desai Secretary VMSS (chintanvmc@gmail.com); Balkrisna Sukla (balu_baroda@yahoo.com); Balkrishna Sukla MP (balu@balushukla.com); Balkrishna Sukla MP (balushukla@gmail.com); Jenu Devan IAS Dy.M.C.Adm. (jenudevan@gmail.com); jenydewanwork@gmail.com (jenydewanwork@gmail.com); jenudewanwork@gmail.com (jenudewanwork@gmail.com); DrRKD Goel (drrkdgoel@hotmail.com); Ratilal Desai (ratudesai@yahoo.com)
Outlook Active View
2 attachments (total 72.5 KB)
14062013=Rehabilitation urban poor=to G.R.Aloria IAS..docx
View online
02082005-15042013-27052013 =Chinnam Gandhi on Masia Kans You Tube.docx View online
15.06.2013 to: -
Mr. G.R.Aloria IAS, Principal Secretary, UD &UH deptt. Govt. of Gujarat.
And others as given in e-mail.
Please read my attached letter dated 14.06.2013 on Rehabilitation of Slums of Gujarat.
In 2008 Vishwamitri River front development of Rs 300 crores from JnNURM fund was prepared.
In first phase Slums are to be removed. As on to day 4500 slum Dwellers are only on the banks of Vishwamitri River. No land available to remove /shift them from River banks.
Secondly the Vishwamitri River is a Gutter Ganga. Impossible to stop sewage to be drained in the River.
How the Vishwamitri River will be developed like Sabarmati River front project?
Wrong policy of VMSS not to remove Slum Dwellers from Water bodies till date
This article is an eye opener.
Please study 40 slide prepared by VMSS on 1st September, 2008 of Vishwamitri River.All money gone waste to clean Vishwamitri River in 2008-2009. Resulting converting Vadodara into Mosquitoes City due to breeding of mosquitoes in river water mixed with sewage.
Thanks. Yours truly,
Dr.R.K.D.Goel

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”