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Its Official-Gujarat- puts business before Enviornment

Mr. A. K. Joti, Chief Secretary of Government of Gujarat made a surprising and shocking statement at the seminar on ‘Technology Solution for Environment Upgradation’ organized by Government of Gujarat on 7 July 2012 at Gandhinagar. The statement exposes the real intention and attitude of Government of Gujarat towards the protection of environment.

Boldly addressing himself to the audience at large and Dr. Tishyarakshit Chatterjee, the Secretary of Ministry of Environment and Forest, Delhi in particular, Mr. A. K. Joti, argued that if China and Bangladesh are violating with impunity the “Basel Convention” (Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal) then why are we expected to implement the same in our ship breaking yard at Alang of Gujarat. From this statement we can clearly see the Chief Secretary’s reference to the recent direction given by the Supreme Court to implement the ‘Basel Convention’.

This argument made by Mr. A. K. Joti clearly shows that his main concern is business and not the protection of environment of Gujarat State. Mr. A. K. Joti’s main worry is that Alang Ship-breaking Yard will lose business if the ship-breaking industries of Gujarat are not provided with the ‘level playing field’ of violating the “Basel Convention”. It also suggests that Mr. A. K. Joti is demanding that Indian players should also be allowed to violate the ‘Basel Convention’. Actually if Mr. A. K. Joti was concerned about the contamination of sea, he would have made a case that we as a country should pressurise other countries to implement the international conventions rather than pressing for its violation. His single focus was only on business and his main worry was that ship-breaking business of Alang should not be diverted at any cost to Bangladesh, China and the new ship-breaking yard coming up in Karachi.

For Mr. A. K. Joti, business and profit is more important than any cost to the environment. He is less concerned with long term damage to the environment than immediate short term monetary gains. This attitude has been noticed several times­whenever we raise the question of the violation of environment laws in Gujarat the standard response of Government of Gujarat is that other states also have a bad track record of violating environment laws. Instead of upholding these laws they always talk about the “Level Playing Field” for business. One can ‘understand’ such an attitude on the part of the industries whose main concern is profit but to find the same attitude in representatives of the State is not just shocking but illegal and intolerable. They are doing nothing but playing with the lives and livelihood of millions of Gujaratis for the sake of profits that reach the hand of just a few.

This self serving attitude was also visible when I raised the question in the seminar that “It is time now to review the concept of Common Effluent Treatment Plant and methods use for the treatment of effluents as the past records clearly reveal that sizable number of CETPs in countries are not able to meet the norms and in many cases inlet effluents parameter instead of going down go up.” This crucial question was cleverly sidelined and no discussion was allowed on such a critical issue.

Rohit Prajapati

Environment Activist participated in the Seminar organized by the Government of Gujarat.

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