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

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.

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.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

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.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

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.