Skip to main content

Debris "fill up" 44 lakh sq ft wetland in Gujarat's cultural capital, as Vadodara fares poorly in cleanliness index

By Our Representative
Vadodara, Gujarat’s cultural capital, is in spot. Top state-based environmentalist Rohit Prajapati and a group of “concerned citizens”, have shot a letter to senior government officials expressing concern that, over the last 12 years, according to the Gujarat Ecology Commission, the city has lost about 44 lakh sq ft of ponds and talaav areas, “much of this due to illegal or legalized dumping by the VMC and unscrupulous citizens.”
Pointing out that 16 out of 41 ponds do not exist anymore, the letter, addressed to the Vadodara Municipal Commissioner, Union and state environment secretaries, and state urban development secretary, among others, quotes a recent report as saying that, as a result, in “swachchhata” (cleanliness) ranking, Vadodara’s best ward (Ward No 4), is 728th in the country and 53rd in Gujarat.
Pointing out that Vishwamitri river, passing through the city, and its environs (tributaries, ravines, and wetlands), “have been used as the dumping grounds for solid and liquid wastes and, especially, construction debris for the last several decades”, the letter alleges, “The situation has exacerbated in the last few since demolition and renovation activities have increased in the city.”
Insisting that “this does not set a good example for the city with aspirations to be a Swachchh City by October 2, 2019 and a leading Smart City of India in the 21st century”, the letter says, “It is high time that the concerned government agencies and citizens take steps to clean up and restore all the water bodies, especially the tributaries, ravines, and wetlands associated with the river.”
The letter expresses special concern over “illicit or permitted” dumping of sewage and industrial liquid wastes and pollution into the water bodies, especially in the Vishwamitri river and its environs”, removal of soil from various sites, ponds, and ravines in the city-region; and immersion of idols and materials and remains from religious rituals into the water bodies.
Pointing out that despite inspection of the sites on June 20, nothing concrete has been done to clean up the environs, the letter says, “The Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016, have not being implemented since day one, though these do not require intense technical know-how and could have been easily implemented.”
It adds, “The ‘flooding’ and waterlogging woes after the recent showers (not regular monsoon rains yet!) in the city, has only given us a glimpse of the serious environmental problems and health issues that can arise if the natural storm water system is not addressed.”
The letter warns, “We would like to reiterate that superficial efforts and lip service will not be adequate to address the above mentioned issues and we will be left with no other choice but to take up this grave issue to its necessary legal action.”
Those who have signed the letter are Dr Deepa Gavali, wetland ecologist; Prof Shishir R. Raval, landscape architect and ecological planner; Neha Sarwate, environmental and urban planner; Shakti Bhatt, water resources expert; Dr Jitendra Gavali, botanist; Dr Jayendra Lakhmapurkar, hydro-geologist; Rutvik Tank, civil engineer and urban planner; Dr Ranjitsinh Devkar, zoologist; Dr Arjun Singh Mehta, biotechnologist; and Dhara Patel, landscape architect; and Hitarth Pandya, educationist and writer.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?