Skip to main content

Gujarat's cultural capital sees sharp rise in "destruction" of water bodies, nature: Environmentalists complain

By Our Representative
Gujarat's well-known environmentalists and experts led by Rohit Prajapati have taken strong exception to sudden sharp rise in demolitions, tree felling and clearing of vegetation, dumping of debris, and discharge of sewage, dredging, digging, filling, levelling, construction, etc. along the Vishwamitri river in the state's cultural capital, Vadodara.
Calling these "blatant violation of environmental laws", they have said in a letter to state and Government of India officials, "preconstruction activity (like clearing of vegetation and making an access path for the widening of Kala Ghoda Bridge) have been taking place near and under Kala Ghoda Bridge inside Vishwamitri river".
Then, they says, "Dumping and levelling activities are going between Kala Ghoda bridge and Yavteshwar Mahadev Temple". Thus, there was "illegal dumping activities of debris at Kala Ghoda bridge near Yavteshwar Mahadev Temple on December 24, 2017 at around 10.20 am", they add.
There was also "discharge of illegal untreated sewage discharge near and besides Bhimnath Bridge", removal of "vegetation on both banks of the Bahucharaji Nala and other works and activities such as levelling and filling of the Nala and its environs", and "dumping of debris along the river bank on both sides of the Bhimnath Bridge and Fast Track Court", they say.
In their letter, addressed to environment and forests and urban development officials, they further say that by carrying on these activities, Vadodara authorities are violating the order of the Gujarat High Court Judgement dated August 2, 2002, as also the May 25, 2016 order National Green Tribunal (NGT).
At the same time, the letter draws the attention of the authorities about what it calls, "non-compliance" by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) of the order in August 2016 passed by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Gujarat, following the withdrawal application for the Vadodara River Development Project before the NGT.
Asking authorities to "immediately stop" all activities, including "demolition, tree felling and clearing of vegetation, dumping of debris, discharge of sewage, etc... around the Vishwamitri River and its environs", the letter says, the NGT restrained VMC from "proceeding further with any construction or development activity within the area of Vishwamitri Riverfront Development Project" (VRDP)."
Following this, based on the order dated the SEIAA secretary, on August 8, 2016, the VMC told the NGT that it "would maintain status quo and would not carry out any further construction and development enabling activities within the area of VRDP... until and unless prior Environmental Clearance is obtained.”
At the same time, the letter says, VMC activities are in "violation of the High Court order of Gujarat", dated August 2, 2002, which stated that care should be "taken that water bodies are not converted to any other use in the town planning schemes/development plans", adding, the local authorities should "ensure that no debris of buildings is dumped by any person or institution in the existing water bodies”.
Apart from Prajapati, those who have signed the letter include Prof. SR Raval, landscape architect and ecological planner; Neha Sarwate, environmental and urban planner; Dr Ranjitsinh Devkar, zoologist; Dr Deepa Gavali, wetland ecologist; Dr Jitendra Gavali, botanist; Shakti Bhatt, water resources expert; Dr Arjun Singh Mehta, biotechnologist; Dr Jayendra Lakhmapurkar, hydrogeologist; Hitarth Pandya, educationist and writer; and Rutvik Tank, civil engineer and urban planner.

Comments

TRENDING

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.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.