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

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

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".

Top ex-Gujarat babu tells Modi: Not yoga but solar system is our biggest source of energy

By Rajiv Shah  An email alert to Counterview from a top ex-IAS bureaucrat, termed as Gujarat’s turnaround man for revamping loss-making state public sector undertakings (PSUs), has sought to take a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark on the Yoga day – that the ancient Indian exercise provides an “infinite solutions” within ourselves, offering “the biggest source of energy in the universe.”

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.

Covid fear? Cremation rituals gone upside down, Dalits asked to do Brahminical rituals

By Abhay Jain, Sandeep Pandey*  As Covid consumes human life in a very conspicuous way we are confronted with additional problem of disposing of human corpses. Cremation grounds are lit with continuous pyres, graveyards are running out of land and now Ganga has become a mass grave potentially polluting its water.