Skip to main content

No follow-up action on Bhavnagar lignite mining disaster, complain environmentalists

Land rise because of lignite mining (left), district officials' visit (right)
By Our Representative
Gujarat’s well-known environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), in a letter to the Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India and the Gujarat chief secretary and other concerned officials, have regretted that a month after their complaint about a disaster at the Badi-Hoidad lignite mining site, Bhavnagar district, on November 16, authorities have taken no follow-up action to ascertain the reasons and take remedial steps.
Seeking urgent cancellation of the environment clearance, consent and authorisation for mining to the Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL), involved in lignite mining in the region, the letter accuses, GPCL, a state-owned enterprise, for being little concerned about violating environmental norms.
The PSS letter says, “It is utterly shocking and surprising that there is no reply or response to our letters dated November 26 and November 30”, even though attention was drawn before the authorities about the disaster.
It rues, “The company decided to ignore a similar disaster that occurred last year in December 2019 in the same mining area”, pointing out, “The December 2019 disaster was put on record and informed to you by us, which the company has also accepted and admitted.”
The letter says, despite the November 16 disaster, not even the basic information has "shared with the local panchayats through advertisement in the newspaper or news channel or through press conference to the villagers staying next to the disaster site as to what precautionary measures they should take in case of such a mishap.” 
It adds, the authorities’ inertia has continued despite the site visit led by assistant collector, Bhavnagar, Pushp Lata, with “team members, mamlatdar, the regional officer of Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), officers of the industries and mining department, officers of the GPCL” in the presence of the two environmentalists and the affected villagers. An expert committee, with a geologist, also reportedly visited the site, yet nothing is known about what it has recommended. 
The disaster was witnessed by villagers, who had gathered for Gujarati new year celebration on November 16. They found a huge raising of the farmland of up to 30-40 feet. Shocked to see that the land rose for a length of about 700 meters, they also saw a large mound of topsoil dumped by GPCL there. GPCL contractors have been doing mining in this area since 2018.
Things became known after a video went viral on November 17. Bharat Jambucha, an activist working on the issue of water recharging and organic farming of Paniyali village in Bhavnagar district, took stock of what had happened and rang up PSS activists, who reached the site on November 24.
On their visit to the site later that day, the villagers expressed their concern about the disaster caused by mining. On December 2, GPCB staff took 16 groundwater samples of seven villages in the region, but their income is still not known, the letter suggests, insisting on the immediate need to fence the affected area and bar entry with public warning notices to the effect that it is a disaster-prone zone.

Comments

TRENDING

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

How real is Mamata challenge to Modi? Preparing for 2024 'khela hobey' moment

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  Third time elected West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is on a whirlwind tour of Delhi, meeting everyone who matters within and beyond the government, the Prime Minister, the President, some Cabinet ministers, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, several other opposition leaders, et al.

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

UP arrest of 'terrorists': Diverting attention from Covid goof-up, Ram temple land scam?

By Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Sandeep Pandey* That corruption is rampant in police department is a common experience. However, there is another form of corruption which devastates lives of individuals and their families. It has now emerged as a common phenomenon that police more often than not register false cases because of which individuals have to spend number of years in jail.

Ganga world's second most polluted river, Modi's Varanasi tops microplastics pollution

By Rajiv Shah  Will the new report by well-known elite NGO Toxics Link create a ripple in the powerful corridors of Delhi? Titled “Quantitative analysis of microplastics along River Ganga”, forwarded to Counterview, doesn’t just say that Ganga is the second most polluted river in the world, next only to Yangtze (China). It goes ahead to do a comparison of microplastics pollution in three cities shows Varanasi – the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – is more polluted compared to Kanpur and Haridwar.

Effluent discharge into deep sea? Modi told to 'reconsider' Rs 2275 crore Gujarat project

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, well-known Gujarat-based environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, has protested against the manner in with the Gujarat government is continuing with its deep sea effluent disposal project despite environmental concerns.

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".

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.

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.