Skip to main content

Vadodara redevelopment "polluting" river Vishwamitri's environs

By Our Representative
Several senior environmentalists and academics of Vadodara have written an open letter to the Municipal Commissioner, Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC), asking the administration to take immediate steps to “immediately stop demolition, tree felling and clearing of vegetation, dumping of debris, discharge of untreated sewage, dredging, digging, filling, leveling, construction, etc. along the city’s Vishwamitri river and its environs.”
The letter – copies of which have been sent to senior officials of the Government of India and the Gujarat government – wants the VMC to thoroughly relook the “development” works going on in and around Vadodara City, allegedly in complete violation of Supreme Court, Gujarat High Court and National Green Tribunal (NGT), even as accusing the VMC of refusing to comply by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) order and directions of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) to keep Vishwamitri and its environments clean.
The letter states, “In spite of the various directions repeatedly given by GPCB, illegal dumping of debris at Kala Ghoda Bridge near Yavteshwar Mahadev Temple, Bhimnath Bridge, Bahucharaji Nala, Bhukhi Nala, near Fast Track Court and other ravines have not been removed till date.” It adds, “Informal access paths have been created by construction vehicles to dump debris in the ravines adjoining the Bhimnath Bridge, Agora Mall, Sama, and various other places.”
It adds, “Severe and mindless disturbances to natural land forms, soils, and hydrological regimes, coupled with removal of vegetation, including significant trees, on the banks of the Bahucharaji Nala, Motnath pond, near the Fast Track Court area, and at various other public and individual private properties are ongoing nonchalantly as a normal practice.”
The letter says, “For road widening or extension and construction of flyovers and bridges, removal of ecologically significant vegetation/tree cover is taken for granted instead of planning and designing of projects with due respect to these assets of the city, especially in the emerging climate change scenarios.”
The letter cites the NGT order dated May 25, 2016, which “restrained from proceeding further with any construction or development activity within the area of Vishwamitri Riverfront Development Project (VRDP)”, even as referring to the SEIAA asking the VMC to “maintain status quo and shall not carry out any further construction and development enabling activities within the area of VRDP until and unless the prior Environmental Clearance is obtained.”
The letter argues that the “current fad” of beautification is “sheer tyranny on natural systems and stamp-pad kind of ugly imposition by the bureaucracy without any serious consideration for natural system, cultural history, users’ participation, contextual fit, or design principles”, adding, “Crores of rupees are spent without any public participation, proper consideration of ecological factors, or good design sense.”
The letter wonders, “Where the debris of the small and big demolished buildings and structures of various kinds are going? Where did demolition debris of Jan-mahal site, the Nataraj and Rajeshri cinema halls go? Where is the waste swept from the roads and open spaces of Vadodara everyday being dumped? Where does all the waste collected during various ‘cleanliness drives’ go?”
Further asking, “Who gives them permission? Why is the waste being allowed to be burned illicitly or otherwise, near Ratri Bazaar, for example) spewing toxic smoke in the air?”, the letter states, “The Vadodara Smart City website lists 64 projects (with estimated cost of Rs 2,906 crore). An overwhelming 42 of these projects are infrastructure development related projects.”
It wants “a complete re-look and re-design of all the on-going and not-so-well thought out demolition activities, clean-up drives, and so-called development projects”, adding, “All the projects should be comprehensively integrated with overall development and/or plans and must not be imposed as isolated intervention handled by different departments and agencies.”
Those who have signed the letter include senior environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, landscape architect Dr Shishir R Raval, zoologist Dr Ranjitsinh Devkar, wetland ecologist Dr Deepa Gavali, botanist Dr Jitendra Gavali, environmental and urban planner Neha Sarwate, biotechnologist Dr Arjun Singh Mehta, and hydro-geologist Dr Jayendra Lakhmapurkar.

Comments

TRENDING

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.