Skip to main content

Illegal industry release turns Sabarmati into dead river, 'agree' Ahmedabad authorities

By Rajiv Shah 

In a surprise admission, the Ahmedabad Municipal Commission (AMC) has said that “ill-treated or untreated or partly treated” industrial waste from “improperly working” effluent treatment plants (ETPs) is being “discharged into Sabarmati directly”. It added in an affidavit filed in the Gujarat High Court (HC) that “completely untreated industrial discharge” is also being “illegally discharged into the sewerage network” designed for household sewage.
It further admitted, there has been “illegal industrial discharge into sewerage access points such as manholes or machine-holes at odd hours (such as, in the middle of the night) by using tankers and flexible pipes.” Worse, there is “reverse boring of industrial discharge or usage of defunct/unused bore-wells or percolation wells to discharge industrial waste directly into the ground”, it added.
The AMC admission comes amidst as one of the members of the High Court-appointed task force, environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, telling the court during a recent hearing that Sabarmati for the 120 kilometres stretch in the downstream right up to the Arabian Sea is a “dead river.”
Briefing the court on proceedings of the meeting of the task force – formed on September 14, 2021 following a writ petition in the High Court on pollution in Sabarmati river – Prajapati said, all of its members had agreed that while the stretch of the Sabarmati river in the Ahmedabad city within the Riverfront Project was “brimming with stagnant water”, the stretch of “120 km of the river, before meeting the Arabian Sea, is ‘dead’.”
Insisting that the 120 km stretch “comprises of partially treated industrial effluent and sewage”, he said, “The Sabarmati river is highly polluted/contaminated… When the discharge quality deteriorates, the water quality in the river including its ecosystem would also deteriorate.”
Insisting that “there should be no discharge of the untreated industrial effluents and the sewage into the Sabarmati river”, he said, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) should act against the defaulting association running/handling the Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) and its member industries”, while AMC, “which is responsible for running the sewage treatment plants should ensure that the norms prescribed by GPCB .. are complied with scrupulously.”
He emphasised on the need to go ahead with “criminal prosecutions” against “all the owners/directors of the defaulting polluting industries, officers of the CETPs and the municipal commissioner of the Ahmedabad city if they are unable to adhere to the prescribed norms.”
Pointing out that the task force would further investigate and prepare “detailed reports about the ground water contamination as well as the contamination of the soil, food grains, vegetables and fodder for the 120 km downstream Sabarmati river”, he suggested, the environmental compensation for the damage caused by such erring entities must be recovered under as per the “formula prescribed” (polluter pay) by orders of the National Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court.
Rohit Prajapati
Prajapati said, the task force members “unanimously agreed” that the stretch of the Sabarmati river from Hansol to Vautha (120 km stretch) would be taken up “on priority basis” by making site visits by the second week of October 2021. Meanwhile, AMC should initiate “extensive drive” to identify the industries discharging the effluent into the sewerage network without permission, and initiate appropriate action.
It was also agreed that the traffic police should “increase surveillance on tankers or tractors carrying on hazardous waste and chemical effluent from the nearby industrial areas and to keep a strong vigil/check on any illegal discharge into the Sabarmati river and the drains”, he said.
He added, “It was discussed that no industry engaged in the manufacturing or dealing with the hazardous chemicals, acids, solvents, etc. should be permitted to discharge into the municipal sewer” and that “any such permission given in the past by GPCB or AMC should be “immediately withdrawn”.
Agreeing that ETPs and CETPs are not functioning as required, GPCB in its affidavit gave specific examples of these are being run in AMC-controlled areas Danilimda and Behrampura, which have 257 and 285 units respectively. It said, the Karnavati Textile Association, which was granted permission for setting up 130 MLD CETP, the same has till date not yet commenced the work.”
Based on the information provided by the task force, AMC and GPCB, the High Court bench consisting of Justices JB Pardiwala and Vaibhari D Nanavati directed the authorities concerned to “disconnect” water drainage and electricity of erring industrial units “which release partially treated/untreated wastewater”, insisting, no reconnection should be granted without GPCB “prior approval.”
As for the joint task force, the bench empowered it not only continue its work but also “publish in the newspapers the details of the set-up/industry along with the name of the owner running such set-up guilty of releasing untreated effluent wastewater into the sewer line maintained by AMC.”

Comments

I have a suggestion that besides the actions suggested by Hon High Court , the defaulting industry shall not get any financial loan / advances etc from any Bank or financial institution for such a criminal act .

In western countries , the financial institutions vet EIA of any such industry and examine their carbon foot print before considering them credit worthy .
Iqbalmasud Khan said…
Why go that far. Ask the municipal commissioner to stand on the Ellisbridge for a few minutes in the morning and watch tonnes of garbage being thrown into the river front waters.
Beside tonnes of stinking flowers gathered from Temples are thrown into the river

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

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. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Living standards in 'model' Gujarat worse than major states: Govt of India document

By Rajiv Shah  Amidst raging controversy over whether the latest Government of India’s “Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23 Fact Sheet: August 2022-July 2023” suggests that India’s poverty levels are actually down to 4.5 to 5%  during the decade-long Narendra Modi rule, a state-wise breakup in the 27-page document shows that “model” Gujarat’s average consumption expenditure is far below most of the so-called developed states.

Not livable in summer, Chitrakut PM-Awas houses 'push' tribals in moneylender trap

By Bharat Dogra*  Those who are in-charge of implementing the PM-Awas scheme of rural housing can rightly take pride in what has been achieved in Dafai hamlet (Karvi block, Chitrakut district, Uttar Pradesh). All the Kol tribal families here are extremely poor and vulnerable. In a rare achievement, almost all of them have received housing assistance under PM Awas. 

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".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.

Development? This tribal hamlet in Chitrakut has no toilets, no electricity connections yet

By Bharat Dogra*  As we moved away from the starting point of the Bundelkhand Expressway and a famous pilgrimage site into a side-road, the hills of Chitrakut here appeared to be more and more isolated. Another turn, and we appeared to have reached almost a dead-end. However it is here that over 80 households of the Kol tribal community have been living for a long time.

Narmada Valley's fossil evidence: Ground for 'nationalists' to argue primates' India roots?

By Saurav Sarkar*  In December 1982, a geologist digging in India’s Central Narmada Valley found something he did not expect. Arun Sonakia, who at the time worked for the Geological Survey of India, unearthed a hominid fossil skullcap from the Pleistocene era. The discovery sent shockwaves through the field of paleoanthropology and put South Asia on the map of human prehistory. Some experts concluded that the skull likely belonged to a member of a predecessor species of ours, Homo heidelbergensis , or perhaps was a hybrid of homo species, while Sonakia himself suggested “ an affinity… to Homo erectus .”