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

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Modi's PRO, who served previous Congress, BJP CMs in Gujarat with "equal" competence

By Rajiv Shah
A public relations officer (PRO), even as maintaining anonymity, is supposed to “manage” reputation of his or her client, reflecting the client’s views in order to influence opinion and behaviour. A PRO is also known to use, the world over, media and communication to build, maintain, manage and plan publicity strategies and campaigns, even as dealing with enquiries from the public, particularly media, organising promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits. A PRO is also supposed to final touches to press statements for his or client.

80% school children are beaten up, 91% parents "approve" of it: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A recent report, prepared by researchers with the civil rights group, Agrasar, has revealed that of the 521 children from marginalized groups surveyed in Gurugram, Haryana, 80% said they are punished at school. Based on data collected from semi-urban communities in Gurugram, the report’s conclusions also take into account survey 100 parents, personal interviews with 26 children, three focus group discussions and one seasonal calendar exercise with 29 parents.