Skip to main content

Industries in Mundra, Gujarat, flout coastal regulation, adversely impacting locals' groundwater needs: Report

Port-led development next to Mundra impacts livelihood
By Our Representative
Planning for the biennial Vibrant Gujarat world business summit, to be held in January 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state suffers from complete failure to cope up with the adverse impact of industrial investment on the livelihood of local communities, suggests a new report prepared by a group of researchers.
The report, titled “How effective are environmental regulations to address impacts of industrial and infrastructure projects in India”, has been prepared by research team consisting of Krithika Dinesh, Meenakshi Kapoor, Kanchi Kohli, Manju Menon and Preeti Shree Venkatram of the CPR-Namati Environmental Justice Programme, Delhi.
While the report suggests that the state has been faster in granting environmental clearances than most other states – with a 93% of approval coastal clearance rate compared to Tamil Nadu’s 86%, Andhra Pradesh’s 85%, Karnataka’s 85% and Maharashtra’s 74% -- it points to how quick approvals have had adverse impacted local communities and environment.
Pointing out that the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991, was the first to acknowledge that industrialization would impact groundwater drawl, the report says, “Ground water aquifers become even more pertinent for districts like Kutch in Gujarat, which lies in the semi-arid climatic zone with an average annual rainfall of less than 75cm.”
A district which received massive industrialization following the earthquake of 2001, thanks to major incentives provided to investors, leading to “a series of port-based industries, expansion of existing and development of new ports, road and railways construction projects”, little was realized that the CRZ notification inhibits the drawl of water “in the first 500 metres of the sea, except for local needs, such as domestic use and for agriculture and fisheries.”
Giving example of communities in three sites in Mundra taluka, living close to three different industries, the report says, they have been particularly facing “these impacts”, with local people noticing that “the level of water in their village wells was going down.”
“Some also observed that wells that used to provide sweet water 10 years ago, had now turned saline. They suspected that drawl of water by industries in their vicinity was contributing to it as some of them had seen bore wells in the premises of these companies”, the report says.
With the help of community organizers working in the area and legal researchers, the report says, the locals found out that “conditions regulating drawl of water are usually given in the environmental permission and consents granted to these industries.”
“From the replies to the right to information (RTI) applications they realized that none of the industries had a valid no objection certificate (NOC)”, the report says, adding, while in the case of one of them the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) office had received an application, “it never granted an NOC to it”. As the the other two cases, “their NOCs were issued with two years validity in 2008 and 2005, respectively.”
“This meant that currently all three industries were operating without an NOC to draw groundwater”, the report says, adding, “Villagers suspected that there was more to this violation story, as mere operation of 2-3 wells per industry cannot have such an impact on the water table in the region.”
To find out the truth, the report says, the villagers “have asked the CGWB office for ground water monitoring reports of Mundra Taluka for the last ten years”, in the hope that “through these reports their observations can be presented as facts.”
The villagers are doing this to provide the “evidence of violations committed by these industries and impacts they are facing and seeking action to check the violation and avoid recurrence”, the report says, adding, “Although villagers understand that regulatory action will not resolve the current water crisis immediately, they still want to pursue the remedies to spare their children of this water scarcity.”
---
Click HERE for full report

Comments

TRENDING

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Visually challenged lady seeks appointment with Gujarat CM, is 'unofficially' detained

By Pankti Jog*
It was a usual noon of November 10. I got a phone call on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline No 9924085000 from Ranjanben of Khambhat, narrating her “disgraceful” experience after she had requested for an appointment with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. She wanted to meet Rupani, on tour of the Khambhat area in Central Gujarat as part of his Janvikas Jumbesh (Campaign for Development).

Violent 'Ajodhya' campaign in 1840s after British captured Kabul, destroyed Jama Masjid

Counterview Desk  Irfan Ahmad, professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany, and author of “Islamism and Democracy in India” (Princeton University Press, 2009), short-listed for the 2011 International Convention of Asian Scholars Book Prize for the best study in Social Sciences, in his "initial thoughts" on the Supreme Court judgment on the Babri-Jam Janmaboomi dispute has said, while order was “lawful”, it was also “awful.”

Bullet train acquisition: Land holding worth Rs 1.5 crore, Gujarat govt 'offer' Rs 8 lakh

By RK Misra*
Foundation stones laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi litter India’s cities, towns and villages, but there are few projects which he has pursued with such perseverance and tenacity as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train one. However, the overwhelming state power notwithstanding, the farmers, whose lands are being acquired for the Modi government’s dream project, have no plans to give up the fight.

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

VHP doesn't represent all Hindus, Sunni Waqf Board all Muslims: NAPM on SC ruling

Counterview Desk
India's top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as describing the Supreme Court's Ayodhya judgement unjust, has said, it is an "assault on the secular fabric of the Constitution". In a statement signed by top social workers and activists, NAPM said, "The judgement conveys an impression to Muslims that, despite being equal citizens of the country, their rights are not equal before the law."