Skip to main content

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.
Asking him to use his influence to ask the state government to “reconsider” the project, which is to cost Rs 2,275 crore, Pandya said, the common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) in Gujarat, whose waste is proposed is to be disposed of in the sea, have obtained “no results”.
In fact, the CETPs, using outdated technology, continue to release “partially treated effluent”, and if the project effected, it will lead to “huge short-term and long-term consequences for marine life in the area and for the 30,000 people whose livelihoods depend on the fishing industry”, he said.

Text:

Paryavaran Mitra is a Gujarat based NGO actively working on socio-environmental issues since 1997 to advocate for human rights in the face of growing environmental pollution and degradation. Today, I write to you as a citizen of this country and as an environmentalist deeply concerned by the Deep Sea Effluent Disposal Project proposed by the Gujarat government.
Having exhausted all my other options, including two letters written to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat on 29/05/2021 and 25/06/2021, I had no choice but to write to you. After considering all the different aspects of the project and the potential damage it can cause, I strongly believe that there is a need for reconsideration with experts and the various stakeholders who will directly or indirectly be impacted by this project.
Ever since the announcement was made by our Hon’ble Chief Minister Mr. Vijay Rupani in December of 2018, my organization has repeatedly reached out to the government asking for more information on the project while also making several constructive suggestions along the way. Unfortunately, the response has not been satisfactory as the state government claimed to have no additional information regarding the project.
Despite this we persisted and finally on the 23rd of December 2020, we received a copy from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board of the order for approval of Rs. 50,000 lakh for the Department of Industry and Mines. This allowed us to better understand the project and the consequences it can have.
From what we understand the project is worth a total Rs. 2275 crore with the Govt. contributing 70% of the total cost in Ahmedabad and Vadodara and 80% percent of it in Jetpur. In his budget speech on July 2nd, 2019, the Deputy Chief Minister allocated Rs 500 crore for this project as well as Rs 700 crore in the current year (2021-22) budget.
As per the CAG report (2015), the state government has spent crores of rupees on common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) in Gujarat but no results have been obtained. The CAG report for year 2015 states that despite the state government spending Rs 174.72 crore between 2012 and 2014 on eight shared water purification plants, our water resources are polluted.
Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha on June 28, 2019, the Environment Minister said that even behind the Sabarmati, Mindola and Tapi rivers, the central government could not clean the rivers despite spending Rs 391.73 crore (National River Cleaning Project) between 2015 and 2019.
The National Green Tribunal has ordered compensation of Rs 5 crore for 19 villages along the Kim River. Similarly, the results of the Vadodara Affluent Channel project have also been a cause of concern as they have failed to reduce the pollution in the Mahi River and the coastline.
Considering all this, if the Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) continue as they are now (i.e. ignoring the criteria) and releasing partially treated effluent, there will be huge short-term and long-term consequences for marine life in the area and for the 30,000 people whose livelihoods depend on the fishing industry.
As a responsible Prime Minister, you have always been a proponent of sustainable development but this project risks the health of our oceans and is not in line with India’s commitment to a sustainable future. Instead, we would like to bring to your attention two technologies which have the potential to improve the quality of water treatment at existing CETPs and will make the need for such a pipeline redundant.
  1. Fetron Catalytic Reactor (FCR) which was recently installed at the CETP in Vatva, Gujarat. In fact, the Chairman of The Green Environment Services Co-operative Society Limited, Rameshbhai Patel said, “All the norms of effluent discharge will be followed by this CETP plant of Vatva” and our Hon’ble Chief Minister Mr. Rupani has praised this initiative by saying that “By implementing such feasible technology for waste water management, the Vatva industries have truly set an ideal example of an environment-friendly and community-driven approach. This is no less than a revolution in Gujarat’s industrial sector which will duly encourage other industrial sectors to follow such effective footsteps”.
  2. Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) which is, as the name suggests, a zero waste production system which can be incorporated into existing CETP plants. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has made ZLD mandatory to treat waste from highly polluting industries like Textile Dyeing, Bleaching, Tanneries etc and it has proven to be very successful and ecologically profitable for the State of Tamil Nadu in the last 10 years.
The installment of both these technologies at Gujarat’s CETPs can help successfully solve the problem of river pollution without compromising the health of our people and our oceans. I appreciate your time and it is my sincere hope that you can take decisive action in response to our concerns about this project.

Comments

TRENDING

What's behind public sector banks showing huge profits in 2nd quarter of 2022-23?

By Thomas Franco*  The quarter two results of the public sector banks (PSBs) appear to be noteworthy compared to a few years ago. All these banks showed good profits in the financial year 2021-22. Twelve PSBs made a net profit of Rs 25,685 crore in quarter 2 of FY23 and a total of Rs 40,991 crore in the first half of 2023. The combined profit of 12 banks in March 2022 was Rs 66,539 crore which was 110% more than 2021 – Rs. 31,816 crore. The Asset Quality Review of 2015 saw a surge in NPAs of PSBs jumping to Rs 8.96 lakh crore in March 2018 from Rs 2.17 lakh crore in March 2014. This was simply because the norms for NPAs were changed from 180 days to 90 days, and all restructuring of even genuine accounts was done away with. In 2018 NPA of SBI was 5.73% which has come down to 0.8% in Q2 of FY23. The NPA of Canara Bank has come down to 2.19% from 7.48% in Mar 2018. The same trend is seen in all public banks. Now SBI has seen a jump of 74% in its net profit, while Canara Bank’s profit is

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep. She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl

Business back to normal? IIM-A survey says, sales expectations have sharply improved

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management’s Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), which polls a panel of business leaders to find out their perception of slack in economy, including their inflation expectations, year-ahead cost expectations and the factors influencing price changes, such as profit and sales levels, etc., has said that the cost perceptions data indicates signs of moderation in price pressures. Carried out for September, the survey says, the cost pressure of the reporting firms has shifted from “very significant increase (over 6%) to moderate increase (3.1% to 6%).” It adds, “The percentage of firms perceiving over 10% cost increase y-o-y has declined. Over 21% of the firms in September 2022 round of the survey perceive that costs have increased very significantly (over 10%) – down from 26% recorded in August 2022.” Claiming to be a unique survey, in that it goes straight to businesses -- the price setters -- rather than to consumers or household

Hindutva groups threat to peace, freedom: US diaspora groups tell FBI, other govt depts

By Our Representative  The Islamophobic and neo-Nazi ideology of Hindutva is a clear and present danger to peace and freedoms in the United States, a coalition of civil rights organizations told key officials of the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a recent event in Edison, New Jersey. At the event titled United Against Hate, activists from American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) and Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) made detailed presentations on this ideology of Hindu supremacism that is committing mass persecution of India’s Muslims and Christians and is rearing its ugly head in New Jersey as well as across the US. Attending the event were David S Leonardis, Special Investigator from the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety; Michael E Campion, Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the US Attorney General's Office; and Jonathan R Norbut of the U.S. Dep

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".

GoI's productivity linked incentives to corporates 'without independent analysis'

Counterview Desk  Wondering how prudent is the Government of India's (GoI's) Productivity Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, EAS Sarma, former secretary, GoI, in a representation to Nirmala Sitharaman, Union finance minister, has said it appears to be nothing more than subsidy to the private sector without any responsibility. Giving a specific example against the backdrop of announcement of 50% subsidy covering the project cost of the Vedanta Group's decision to set up a semiconductor fabrication plant in Gujarat, in collaboration with Foxconn, Sarma says, "The total cost of this project is reported to be Rs 1,54,000 crore. 50% of this works out to Rs 77,000 crore." Stating that this creates the impression that the entire subsidy allocation for the semiconductor manufacturing sector would be appropriated by this company, Sarma says, "The Gujarat government did not lag behind in liberally announcing similar incentives for the Vedanta-Foxconn project. It offered 7

As polls approach, electorate 'failing to realise': Gujarat model is in a shambles

By DN Rath*  Gujarat assembly elections, scheduled to be held on 1 and 5 December 2022, is viewed by many as dress rehearsal for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. When the suffering people have been pointing towards redressal of some local issues like absence of cleanliness, sewage problem, shortage of water supply, troubles created by stray cattle, insufficiency of streetlights, etc., it is evident that they are not fully aware that assembly elections are being fought on ideological standpoints and policy decisions. Nor is there the realisation that the state is in a shambles and the much-trumpeted ‘Gujarat model’ of development has proved to be a hoax. Like other states, the people of Gujarat are also back-broken by steep rise in prices to the tune of 400% in last 20 years. It is not that the government cannot control the spurt in prices if it so wants. Apart from the fact that price rise is an inevitability in a capitalist economy, artificial shortage triggered by massive hoarding, b

BJP poll gimmick? Bilkis Bano rape case 'pardon' vs Rajiv assassins' release

By Sandeep Pandey*  Supreme Court has released six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. This was bound to happen as earlier AG Perarivalan was released in the same case, setting a precedent. Even though four of them are Sri Lankans but a popular Tamil sentiment favoured the release of these convicts which is why Tamil political parties supported this and resolutions were passed by different governments in Tamil Nadu to his effect.  Rajiv Gandhi paid the price of sending Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka where it got entangled with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and eventually the whole operation ended up is a fiasco.  However, most importantly Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi and probably Rahul too do not have any objections to the release of these convicts. In fact, Sonia Gandhi played an important role in getting the death sentence of the only lady among the convicts Nalini commuted to life term through the Tamil Nadu Governor. Priyanka visited Nalini in Vellore Jail and

Amit Shah accused of inciting communal passion: Demand to postpone Gujarat polls

Counterview Desk  In an email representation to the Election Commission of India (ECI), Dr EAS Sarma, former secretary to the Government of India, has objected to the statement reported to have been made by Union home minister Amit Shah, who allegedly justified the 2002 Gujarat riots stating that certain sections of people “taught a lesson” to the rioters. Noting that the statement, if correct, “in effect implies those other than the law enforcement authorities had taken law into their hands”, Sarma says, “Shah's statement needs to be viewed by the ECI in conjunction with the reported fact that it was the Union Home Ministry that cleared the release of the eleven rape convicts in the Bilkis Bano case, directly related to the infamous Godhra incidents in 2002, which triggered the shameful sequence of events that shook the nation's conscience.” According to Sarma, if the statement is true, “I am constrained to draw the inevitable inference that it would have already impacted th