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Vadodara ravines, wetlands being "systematically destroyed", yet nobody cares

By Our Representative
Several prominent Vadodara citizens have in a letter to the city municipal commissioner expressed concern that ravines and wetlands in Gujarat's cultural capital "are being systematically destroyed and filled with debris and municipal solid waste in order to reclaim land for further 'development'."
According to them, "This will further augment the already existing waterlogging and flooding woes in various parts of the city", adding, "We have raised the issues with the concerned authorities, related to prevention anticipated disasters, flooding and water logging due to deliberate negligence". Yet, what they got was "lip service" regarding cleaning up the debris with all kinds of solid waste.
The letter follows a Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) communication to Gujarat government authorities directing them to take steps to protect "the ecology of the wetlands and ravines there through effective waste management" in Vadodara following a complaint by senior environmental activist Rohit Prajapati dated May 22, 2019. The MoEFCC letter asked the state authorities to "send an Action Taken Report to the applicant under intimation to this Ministry.”
The letter, whose copy has been sent to Gujarat and Government of India environment and forest officials, especially identifies Sursagar Redevelopment and Jan Mahal as "prime examples" of such dumping, adding, "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 that will create significant issues of debris."
The letter says, "In spite of recent site visit on April 24 by a committee headed by Chief Justice (Retired) of Delhi High Court Justice BC Patel, Gujarat Pollution Control Board officials and the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, instead of removing the dumped debris, is still allowing dumping of fresh debris, discharge of untreated sewage, filling, levelling, construction, etc. activities along the Vishwamitri River and its environs (banks, ravines, tributaries, ponds, wetlands, etc.)."
Those who have signed the letter include Rohit Prajapati, environmental activist; Neha Sarwate, environmental and urban planner; Dr Ranjitsinh Devkar, zoologist; Dr Shishir R Raval, landscape architect and ecological planner; Dr Deepa Gavali, wetland ecologist; Dr Jitendra Gavali, botanist; Shakti Bhatt, water resources expert; Dr Arjun Singh Mehta, biotechnologist;Dr Jayendra Lakhmapurkar, hydro-geologist, others.

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