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Environmentalist warns of eco-destruction at MSU, Gujarat's cultural-academic seat

Counterview Desk
In a letter to the vice-chancellor, the Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) of Baroda, known for long to be one of the few institutions in Gujarat which have had consistently high academic reputation, well-known environmentalist Rohit Prajapati has sought what he calls “measurable, accountable, and eco-centric steps” for safeguarding a major urban tributary of Vishwamitri river.
Called Bhukhi Nala, the tributary passes through MSU and merges into Vishwamtiri, the most important river of Vadodara, known to be cultural capital of Gujarat. In his letter, Prajapati, who is with the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, known for its environmental campaigns, says, the manner in which the varsity authorities have treated the tributary suggest that there is a clear violation of the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016 and the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, as also an apex court ruling.
A copy of the letter has been forwarded to the municipal commissioner, Vadodara, senior environment, forest and urban development officials of the Government of India and Gujarat government, including the Gujarat Pollution Control Board.

Text: 

We seek to draw your attention that you, individually and institutionally, seem to choose not to pay attention to the dire situation in which the University, under its very nose, has put the Bhookhee Naalaa/Bhukhi Nala (BN, for short) that is passing through and along the MS University.
Over the last few decades, and especially during the last five to ten years or so, right from the northern end near the Samaras Girls Hostel and Polytechnic Campus to behind the Commerce Faculty in the south, the University, and the local authorities have systematically neglected and degraded the BN and its environs. It is not that we have not drawn your attention earlier to this matter of serious concern.
However, the concerned authorities and officials in the University have done nothing seriously positive to address this issue at several levels. Instead, the concerned authorities and officials within the University passed on the buck to the Department Heads or Faculty Deans who happen to be along the BN asking them to not dump waste into the BN. This has not helped at all.
Over the years these same authorities/officials have allowed debris and solid waste dumping into the BN and, thereby, shrunk its capacity to hold storm water and degraded its habitat quality. We have sent you photographs, taken over the years, in the past to show the evidence of the dumping and degraded conditions in our letter dated December 3, 2019.
Instead of working towards devising and implementing a holistic plan to ecologically restore and maintain the BN for multiple nature and education friendly uses and make it a central asset for the campus, the University, a leader to the society at large, very unfortunately and nonchalantly keeps on neglecting and degrading it year after year.
Over the last few years it has only provided lip service to appropriately clean up and revive the BN.
No serious and sustained attempt has been made to look after and restore the BN.
Each year, the Vadodara municipal commissioner and/or the MSU undertakes drastic and tactless removal of significant riparian vegetation growth as a part of their so-called pre-monsoon clean-up activity spending tax-payers money on this ill-conceived activity (as shown in the attached photographs). 
The University, a leader to the society at large, unfortunately and nonchalantly keeps on neglecting and degrading ecology year after year
The MSU authorities must stop this clearing of vegetation immediately carried out under any pretext or reason, especially when the monsoon rains are upon us. Removal of vegetation cover, for any reason or under any pretext, leaves the ground bare, destroys the habitats of species, and will exacerbate soil erosion and other related problems.
Unfortunately, this activity is still continuing in the BN. The MSU authorities must also stop mindless dumping of the construction debris and other solid and liquid wastes anywhere on the campus immediately.
They must remove new and legacy debris and solid wastes in the entire campus, but especially in and around the BN, and initiate well-planned recycling and up-cycling projects for the same. They must also systematically map and thoroughly analyze the BN and its environs. Finally, the MSU authorities must also take step for restoring, nurturing and protecting the BN, a major tributary of the Vishwamitri river, and a great asset for the MSU and Vadodara city.
We propose to envision and plan the BN as an integrated ecological entity instead of isolation and administrative components. Let us see and appreciate its connections to its diverse contexts, both on the MSU campus and in our city to derive multiple benefits.
Let the University, in conjunction with the district collectorate and the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, establish a task force to understand the issues and opportunities more comprehensively and, adapting truly participative processes, devise a holistic design for the entire BN watershed.
We must not limit our efforts just within the areas between its two ill-defined banks. We must start from north of the Chhani Pond to where it merges in the Vishwamitri River just south of the Planetarium in the Kamati (Sayaji) Baug, but first focus on the stretch / watershed part that is in and along the MSU campus. We must take time and pains to ensure that exemplary work is done. Therefore, we must not succumb to some administrative expediency, turf fights, or parochial approaches.
A central dedicated task force, consisting of well-qualified experts, faculty, students, alumni, and well-wishers from multiple disciplines and domains, with clear mandate and adequate budget and power, needs to be established at the earliest possible to address the grave issues which, in fact, are hidden opportunities if addressed proactively and holistically.
Let us come together to create a true gift to the current and future generations of the University community and Vadodara's citizens at large. This endeavor will be a truly meaningful tribute to Shreemant Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad.
Will the University and other concerned authorities heed now to what is stated in this letter or will it press the snooze button again?
Not taking any of the suggested actions with measurable and tangible outcomes will / may invite legal and/or other actions against all the concerned authorities.

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