Skip to main content

New sample suggests high pollution off Vadodara effluent channel, 'requires' action

Sample taken from the spot where channel "releases" effluents  
Counterview Desk 
Gujarat’s top environmental group Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) has sharply criticized the Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s (GPCB’s) “on-serious, casual letter” dated September 5, which allegedly suggests that the top state state agency does not favour taking any action Central Gujarat’s effluent treatment plant, Vadodara Enviro Channel Ltd (VECL).
In a letter to senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials, with copies to the Prime Minister and the state chief minister as also concerned citizens, PSS in its letter signed by Rohit Prajapati and Krishna Kant insist not to renew Consolidated Consent and Authorization (CC&A) order dated January 6, 2015, and implement the closure order dated December 13, 2018 of GPCB under section 33A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

Text:

It is utterly shocking that Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) letter, dated September 5, 2019, maintains complete silence on the principle and fundamental issue that, "Now, there is no dispute among concerned authorities, industries, and VECL that at ‘J Point’ of Effluent Channel of VECL the effluent is consistently not able to meet the prescribed GPCB norms”, mentioned in all our letter since 2000.
Surprisingly same letter also states, “Thus Board is taking action against as and when any industry (is) found not complying (with) the norms.” We would like to again put on record that the VECL is also an industry, in the business of safely conveying treated industrial effluents but is not able to meet the prescribed norms since its inception. We request GPCB to clarify this in writing. A copy of the letter is attached herewith.
We had taken a sample of the effluent on September 6, 2019 at 1.26 pm at ‘J Point’ and submitted the sample to GPCB, Vadodara Office. The result reveals that COD at ‘J Point’ is 1976. Investigations from July 31, 2019 onwards were able to reveal and expose that VECL’s pipeline, at many points, was and is still leaking. Even the monsoon rains on July 31, 2019 onwards have moved the soil above the pipeline inside the ECP and expose the reasons for the leakage.
Even the monsoon rains on August 2 and 3, 2019 were also able to reveal and expose that leakage of pipeline in the last stretch of ECP. The VECL’s carelessness has led to filling up of two ponds of Nodhana Village with industrial effluent. Industrial effluent also entered into agriculture land of Uber, Valipur, Nodhana, Samoj, and Sarod villages.
The Vadodara Enviro Channel Limited (VECL) knowingly and openly decided not to respect the Environment Laws of India and Order, dated February 22, 2017, of the Supreme Court in Writ Petition (Civil) No 375 of 2012 (Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti & Anrs V/s Union of India & Ors) and National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, Delhi, Order, dated August 3, 2018 and February 19, 2019, in the Original Application No 593 of 2017, (Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti & Anrs V/s Union of India & Ors).
We are extremely disturbed that the Chief Secretary, Gujarat State; and the Chairman & Member Secretary of the GPCB are openly allowing the VECL to consistently and admittedly violate the environment laws of the land.
They are also turning a blind eye to the known and admitted violation of the Order, dated February 22, 2017, of the Supreme Court in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 375 of 2012 (Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti & Anrs V/s Union of India & Ors) and National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, Delhi Order, dated 03.08.2018 and 19.02.2019, in Original Application No. 593 of 2017, (Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti & Anrs V/s Union of India & Ors). These amount to Contempt of the Supreme Court Order and exemplary punishment needs to be ordered by the concerned authorities.
A spot where effluent is oozing out of the pipeline
There have been several such letters written by PSS and Farmers’ Action Group (FAG) and repeated investigations conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), and various agencies appointed by the concerned authorities.
These efforts and track record clearly demonstrates that the groundwater of the villages, ponds, and agricultural areas along and around the ECP are critically contaminated and need immediate intervention by the concerned authorities to stop further pollution of any kind.
They must also demarcate and analyze the pollution-affected areas scientifically and then implement well-devised, short-term and long-term plans to completely remediate the surface water and land as well as the groundwater of the affected area.
Since the year 2000, we have been continuously communicating about the above issues and about the non-compliance of Effluent Channel Project (ECP) of Vadodara Enviro Channel Limited, with the concerned authorities. There has been no response from the authorities in terms of definitive actions on the ground. Our continuous appeals have been responded with undeniable display of their nonchalance and lack of commitment to the environment and law of the land.
The Consolidated Consent and Authorization (CC&A), dated January 6, 2015, of VECL clearly mentions: “VECL have only one outlet for the discharge of its effluent and no effluent shall be discharged without requisite treatment & without meeting with the GPCB norms.”
There are many more such terms and conditions mentioned in the said CC&A but the concerned authorities have failed to look into the compliance of these crucial terms and conditions of CC&A.
Neither the GPCB nor the industrialists have denied that the groundwater is severely contaminated, that the contamination is spreading in different areas, and it has reached irreversible / irreparable levels because of incessant industrial activities.
There are number farmers who had been practicing organic farming but because of the groundwater pollution, they are no longer considered organic. Affected farmers with small landholding and villagers often have no choice but to use this contaminated water for farming and their livelihood, including in their own households, and for their cows and buffaloes.
The farmers who are affected by groundwater contamination and pollution have not been compensated in terms of money or in kind. This is despite the fact that nobody disputes the fact that the problem of contamination of groundwater and air pollution is because of the polluting industries located around the villages and areas vis-à-vis the ECP.
Alarming  that industries located in Central Gujarat are releasing untreated effluents, which has grave consequences, and may force government to declare  chemical emergency
Polluters need to pay. Industries need to be categorized as polluters. There are too many loopholes for polluters to get away from responsibility to pay. Polluters need to pay if it is externalized from their respective compounds. There has to be a system to assess and pay the affected in time.
 There must be a serious and concerted effort made to change the way we process and manufacture industrial products. A mid-course correction towards more ecologically and socially responsible practices must be studied and adapted for a new kind of regenerative economy, healthier ecosystems, and happier and productive people.
As far as industrial clusters around ECP are concerned, they are located in the vegetable basket of Gujarat, on fertile land, which is prima facie contradictory and illegal. Majority of the industries located in this cluster do not even have the required buffer zone as per the stipulated condition in the environmental clearance.
The main purpose of the buffer zone is to avert the effect of negative impact of pollution on the surrounding rural residential and agricultural areas. No action has been taken against these defaulting industries even after repeated letters from us about the violations.
Keeping in mind the above stated alarming facts and undisputed realities even accepted by CPCB, GPCB, Vadodara Enviro Channel Limited, and the industries located in this area, we can surely declare this grave situation as a major chemical emergency. In order to reduce further harm to the people and the environment, we demand that:

  • Concerned authorities should not renew Consolidated Consent and Authorization (CC&A) dated January 6, 2015 of Vadodara Enviro Channel Ltd.
  • Concerned authorities should immediately implement the Closure Order dated December 13, 2018 of GPCB under section 33A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
  • File criminal cases against VECL and defaulting polluting industries of ECP Industrial Cluster. The cases may please be heard in a Special Court on day-to-day basis.
If authorities fail to do so, it will convey a wrong message to all the polluting industries that the concerned authorities are not serious about implementing the Supreme Court order dated February 22, 2017 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 375 of 2012.
We expect your prompt and positive response in the interest of life, livelihoods, and the environment. If this doesn’t happen, we may take action as may be advised.

Comments

Dharshana said…
The blog is very informative.Keep posting like this.
Aviation academy in chennai

TRENDING

Tracing roots of Hindutva Zionism: cannon fodder for 'warped' nationalist pretensions

By Shamsul Islam*  Those who believe in a world free of hegemonic ethno-nationalism, racism, religious bigotry and hatred have rightly taken note of Zionism and its ally Christian Zionism, major perpetrators of ethnic cleansing of ‘Others’. However, the civilized world with its core belief in multi-culturalism and peaceful co-existence is oblivious to a no less dangerous threat to the present human civilization: the Hindutva Zionism. As the term reads it is part of the Hindutva world-view which stands for an exclusive Hindu India minus Muslims and Christians. The other religions like Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism will have no independent status but treated as part of Hinduism. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS; National Volunteer Organization) is the most prominent flag-bearer of the Hindutva politics whose cadres presently rule India, the largest democracy in the world. RSS was founded by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940) in 1925 who was disillusioned with the Indian freedom st

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Shocking? No Covid vaccine trials conducted on pregnant, lactating women: RTI reply

By Rosamma Thomas*  A Right to Information applicant who sought details of safety trials conducted in India on pregnant and lactating women for three Covid vaccines in use in India – Covishield, Covaxin and ZyCov-D -- was shocked to learn from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) that Serum Institute, manufacturer of Covishield, and Cadila Healthcare, manufacturer of the ZyCov-D vaccine, had not sought permission for such trials.  Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, had sought permission for trial on pregnant women and later withdrawn its application. This response , provided after the applicant was initially unsatisfied with the response and went in appeal, is from the joint drugs controller, CDSCO. It was dated September 13, 2022. One researcher closely following the vaccine rollout, however, is of the opinion that the lack of a trial on pregnant and lactating women is a blessing; potential trial participants and their unborn babies thus escaped harm. Aruna Ro

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Rajasthan cops 'halt' Gujarat Dalit women's rally: homage to untouchability victim boy

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Rajasthan police stopped a Dalit women's rally from Gujarat on the borders after it crossed Gujarat alleging that it would "disturb peace" in village Surana, Jalore district, where the gruesome incident of death of a Dalit boy took place on August 13 after he was brutally beaten up by his teacher on touching the drinking water pot. Sources said, while the Gujarat government had "no objection" in allowing the rally, which originated from the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), an empowerment-cut-technical institute for teens founded by human rights leader Martin Macwan, on September 24 morning, the Rajasthan police stopped it for two and a half hours before allowing it to proceed to Surana. The decision to take out a women's rally was taken at a DSK meeting on September 5 following a condolence meeting of the NGO Navsarjan Trust, also founded by Macwan, activists committed to work against caste-based discrimination, orga

Introducing non-native cheetahs is 'not equivalent' to restoring pride in the nation

By Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay*  The Cheetahs from the African continent has finally been introduced to India by the Indian Prime Minister on his 72nd birthday. The process had started with the previous Government in 2009. However, the Supreme Court clearance was pending owing to the objection by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) plea to reintroduce cheetahs. Finally the clearance was obtained in January 2020 and thereafter Kuno National Park (KNP) was chosen for the reintroduction of first set of Southeast African Cheetahs. In the near future, depending upon the success story of the current reintroduction, more cheetahs from South Africa may also be introduced. This exercise has generated a lot of interest among various stakeholders with opinions on both sides galore. It is important to pose some questions that surround the whole exercise. Let us evaluate some of these arguments. The first set of arguments are quite detached from the issues of conservation as they most

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

'Military diplomacy': US praises Bangladesh Army for leadership role in UN operations

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder* As the Indo-Pacific region represents the world’s economic and strategic center of gravity, the Indian Ocean today is becoming the centerpiece of all geo-strategic play. Cooperation in the region is crucial to implementing the international community’s global agenda, including achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Major powers like the US have enhanced and deepened their strategic engagement and leadership roles with countries in the region. The Indo-Pacific Army Management Seminar, or IPAMS, is a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) initiated conference that is aimed at facilitating and enhancing interactions among the armies of the Indo-Pacific region. This year's 46th Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS)-2022, co-hosted by the Bangladesh Army and US Army Pacific (USARPAC), concluded in Dhaka. The objective of IPAMS is to promote peace and stability in the region through mutual understanding, dialogue, and friendship. It is the largest confer

Grave error? Scholar blames ex-Gujarat babu for anti-Christian riots 'citing fake report'

By Rajiv Shah  A few days back, I received a message from one of the finest former Gujarat government bureaucrats, PG Ramrakhiani, a 1964 batch IAS official, who retired in November 2000. I would often interact with him in 1997-99, even later, after I was sent to Gandhinagar as a Times of India man to cover Sachivalaya. Those were turbulent times. Shankarsinh Vaghela was the Gujarat chief minister, under attack from two sides – from the BJP, which he had left to form a separate breakaway party, Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP), one one hand, and the Congress, which was supporting him from outside, on the other. Ramrakhiani, in his message, referred to the book authored by Ghanshyam Shah and Jan Breman, both top-notch scholars who have known Gujarat in and out. Called “Gujarat, Cradle and Harbinger of Identity Politics: India’s Injurious Frame of Communalism”, I reviewed the book in January 2022.  It claims that Muslims in Gujarat have been turned into “new untouchables”, thanks to the Hin

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.