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

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Palm oil industry 'deceptively using geenwashing' to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9. 

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk   The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.