Skip to main content

Allow limestone mining in Gujarat, relax environmental norms in coastal zone: High level Govt of India report

By Rajiv Shah
A high-level committee seeking, appointed by the Government of India soon after Narendra Modi took over reins of power in 2014, has recommended that the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) should “relax” mining coastal environmental norms for “developmental purposes.”
The drastic recommendation of the committee has been made on the basis of the Gujarat government’s “request seeking relaxation in mining of limestone in the coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) area”, the committee, headed by Dr Shailesh Nayak, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, says in its report. The report was submitted in January 2015.
The committee, in its report titled “Report of the Committee to Review the Issues relating to the Coastal Regulation Zone, 2011”, obtained through a right to information (RTI) plea filed way back on February 22, 2015 by well-known environmental expert Kanchi Kohli, says, Gujarat’s “limestone reserves” found in the coastal region “are valuable and should be utilized for developmental purposes.”
The report, which was not allowed to go public under the pretext that it cannot be given “unless approved”, says, “The limestone reserves of Gulf of Kutch and Saurashtra need to be examined and studied in detail by reputed scientific national institutes such as Central Mining Research Institute, Dhanbad, National Cement and Building Material Institute, Faridabad.”
It insists, “Based on the recommendations of these Institutes, selective mining with appropriate safeguards related to ground water, coastal erosion and others could be carried out”, adding, “The mining of such minerals could be indicated in the coastal zone management plan (CZMP) of the state/union territory which shall be prepared based on the above studies.”
The committee’s report says, the Gujarat government had requested that “certain stretches of the coastline have large reserve of high quality of limestone”, especially in the “Gulf of Kutch and Saurashtra.”
The state government told the committee that the two regions of the state “have vast limestone reserves amounting to 10,000 million metric tonnes”, adding, “This limestone has high calcium content (more than 92%) and is extremely valuable. Several industries especially cement industries in these areas use the limestone.”
“Many of the industries have been set up prior to 1991 based on the limestone reserve. These industries have been affected due to the provision of the CRZ Notification”, the state government had further said in its representation.
The committee said, “The state government has sought relaxation of mining of limestone and has requested to make it a permissible activity outside eco-sensitive area with subject to the condition of proper mitigation measures, preservation of erosion, saline water incursion, pollution of coastal waters and so on.”
Insisting that not just limestone mining but also “all other projects of national importance declared by the Central Government” should be “undertaken in CRZ on a case-to-case basis”, the committee, however, refers to how “the sea bed and the bed of the tidally influenced water bodies are the breeding, spawning and rearing grounds of several coastal/marine species on which the local communities depend upon.”
The recommendation to allow limestone mining along Gujarat coasts – forming 20 per cent of India –even as the report, talks of “several activities such as indiscriminate mining and dredging” having “destroyed the benthic flora and fauna”, insisting how “such activities have affected the coastal processes leading to accretion, deposition and change in hydrodynamics and morphodynamics.”

Comments

TRENDING

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…