Mr. Narendrabhai Modi replied the questions raised by Non-Resident-Gujaratis (NRG) so we hope that Mr. Modi will also reply the questions of Permanent-Resident-Gujaratis (PRG). – Rohit Prajapati & Trupti Shah, Permanent-Resident-Gujaratis (PRG)
Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah
37 Patrakar Colony, Tandalja Road, Post: Akota,
Vadodara 390 020, Gujarat Phone/Fax No: +91-265-2320399,
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
By Fax and Email
13 May 2013
Shri Narendrabhai Modi
The Chief Minister of Gujarat
Government of Gujarat
1st Block, 5th Floor, New Sachivalaya,
Gandhinagar – 382 010.
Subject: You replied the questions raised by Non-Resident-Gujaratis (NRG) so we hope that you will also reply the questions of Permanent-Resident-Gujaratis (PRG).
We Permanent-Resident-Gujaratis (PRG) would like to raise certain issues for your response as we heard in the morning to your replies to the questions raise by the Non-Resident-Gujaratis (NRG). We are also sending the copy of the letter to the press so that you can also give your response to the press. These are not new; we have repeatedly raised these same issues in letters sent to your various departments and directly to you but we have yet to receive a proper reply. Your office always referred these letters to the so-called concerned department even when straight questions were addressed to you. We are ready for dialog in an open meeting with you. We are also prepared to attend a press conference to discuss these issues in the presence of press. We assure you that we are eager to engage in dialog with you, and are sending you our concerns so that the discussion may be thoughtful.
The then Finance Minister of Gujarat Mr. Vajubhai Vala on 11th January 2011 said while addressing a day-long pre-Vibrant Gujarat Summit seminar at Ahmedabad Management Association on ‘Industry Responsive Skill Development: The Emerging Trends in Gujarat’ that “A farmer engaged in agriculture on a five acre plot will earn enough only for his family. But if an industry is set up on that land, it will provide sustenance to families of 25-30 thousand workers.”  He asked local industrialists not to spoil workers by giving them more than what is rightfully due to them. We want you to clarify your position on such statements.
(1) Your book CONVENIENT ACTION – Gujarat’s Response To Challenges of Climate Change selectively presents information and data which are convenient to defend the ‘development model’ being pursued by the state. Even the Gujarat Ecology Commission report acknowledges the abysmal status of the environment in Gujarat. Why did you base your book on cherry-picked evidence that ignores the level of irreversible environmental degradation in the state of Gujarat? You have included in your book on page 132-133 a photo of the ‘Common Effluent Treatment Plant’ of Vapi, a facility which has not been able to fulfil the environmental norms prescribed by Gujarat Pollution Control Board since many years. While the photo is very large, there is no discussion about the functioning of CETP of Vapi. Your book completely ignores the failure of all major ‘industrial effluent treatment facilities’ of Gujarat. Why?
(2) Gujarat is the only state where all registered chemical factories have been identified and categorized in various hazard classes, by Directorate Industrial Safety and Health. Considering their hazard potential, Major Accident Hazard (MAH) factories are identified as per standard norms of related law. Gujarat state is having highest total 497 MAH Class factories which amounts 30 % of MAH factories in India. At present in Gujarat state, 3204 ‘B’ +’C’ class hazardous chemical factories are identified. Gujarat is having total 30,310 factories registered under the Factories Act ( employing directly 940567 Workers ) out of which total 4,559 (15%) are hazardous chemical factories.
The Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA), it seems, doesn’t think that chemical industries have potential to cause chemical disasters in the state. Despite the Bhopal gas tragedy that killed thousands of people 25 years ago, the Gujarat government doesn’t seem to have learnt anything. Reply to our Right to Information Application about Chemical Emergency Plan of the Gujarat state the GSDMA stated in their replies that “A Chemical Emergency Plan is currently under consideration at the Disaster Management Authority.” GSDMA further stated in their replies that “In reference to your above mentioned letter where information like numbers and names of the chemical industries, chemical used, final product, pollutant generated and its impact, also information about engineered landfill site – treatment storage and disposal facility, effluent treatment plants, common effluent treatment plants, etc. have been sought by you, we would like to inform you that the requested information is not available with this office.”
Mr. CM is the chairperson of the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority and the same authority has to implement ‘The Gujarat State Disaster Management Act, 2003. The Act clearly states ‘(2) (h) “ disaster” means an actual or imminent event, whether natural or otherwise occurring in any part of the State which causes, or threatens to cause all or any of the following: (i) widespread loss or damage to property, both immovable and movable; or (ii) widespread loss of human life or injury or illness to human beings; or (iii) damage or degradation of environment;’ but the web site of Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority states ‘The GSDMA has been constituted by the Government of Gujarat by the GAD’s Resolution dated 8th February 2001. The Authority has been created as a permanent arrangement to handle the natural calamities.’ What about environmental disasters? There is no ‘Comprehensive Chemical Emergency Plan’ with the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority. The Director, Health & Safety Department has an ‘Off Site Emergency Plan;’ but when I demanded a copy of it, I was told that it is secret. A chemical emergency plan is not among the priorities in Gujarat, a chemical state with one of the country’s highest concentration of chemical industries. This is nothing but disastrous situation of Chemical State Gujarat.
4) We had also launched a complaint against residential & commercial complexes coming up in the vicinity of hazardous solid waste sites in Ahmedabad (Vatva & Naroda) in violation of GPCB notification on industrial hazardous solid waste and The Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989. These complexes were in violation of the CPCB & GPCB guideline and norms requiring a 500 meter safety distance from TSDFs & CETPs to residential complexes.
Instead of punishing the violating builders/contractors, The Forest & Environment Department and Urban Development and Urban Housing Department of Government of Gujarat decided, in the meeting dated 5-9-2011, to relax the required 500 meter safety radius to only 100 meters for the purpose of legalizing all illegal residential complexes which came after the notification. For future, it was decided that the 500 meter distance would be enforced.
The original guideline was issued with the intention of preventing risk to the health and safety of the people. The revision obviously looks at the profit margin of unscrupulous contractors, not the innocent residents who will suffer in future.
This post-facto regularization of illegal residential complexes sends a clear message that the safety norms can be bent to accommodate economic interests. This is going to be a disastrous action on the part of the concerned authorities as far as the health and safety of the people is concerned. It is clear that such a decision can only be due to immense pressure from the rich and powerful.
It cannot have been a suo motto decision. Instead of taking firm action and enforcing the regulations, these departments are succumbing to pressure from all sides from powerful rich people who want to legalize their illegal residential complexes.
Any post facto relaxation in the present environmental guidelines and norms is nothing but manipulation of present environmental norms to legalize illegal construction activities in order to favour powerful rich people who can pressurize the Government to act against the interests of ordinary people. We are opposed to the proposed dilution of norms, and have expressed this and written letters to you. We would like to know your position on this issue, especially the acceptability of changing laws to accommodate violators.
(5) As treatment facilities of Gujarat continue to be unable to meet the Gujarat Pollution Control Board‘s (GPCB) norms, a moratorium on opening new industries or expansion of existing industries was declared for the Ankleshwar area on 7-7-2007, and now the Ministry of Environment and Forests has extended till further order. Later on, on 13-1-2010 a moratorium was declared for other areas like Vatva, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Vapi, etc. The moratorium was subsequently lifted for the Vapi, Bhavnagar, and Junagadh area because of the pressure of the Gujarat Government. We objected to the lifting of moratorium for Vapi because treatment facilities of Vapi are still not able to meet the GPCB norms. Today the moratorium for Vatva, Ankleshwar is extended till further order. This has rightly stalled the projected huge investment in these areas of Gujarat. However, we believe that as responsible citizens, we are not and cannot be concerned only with the quantum of investment, but also with what is being invested, what the goal of the investment is, and how it affects the people in general. The Gujarat Government has perpetually opposed these moratoriums, despite obvious need. Given that the industries are facing moratoriums from the Ministry of Environment and Forests for unabated cycle of pollution which continues to impact adversely all kinds of lives – human, agriculture and livestock, we are interested to know what you have to say regarding the industrial moratoriums in our state.
(6) Why does your government fail to have land use policy? Why is an abundance of chemical industries allowed in fertile land, including the ‘vegetable basket’ of India like Padra Taluka of Vadodara District?
(7) On 7-5-2004 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 657/1995, the Supreme Court ordered Gujarat State to provide clean drinking water to residents of villages near Vapi, Ankleshwar, and Effluent Channel Project of Vadodara, where the water supply was irrevocably damaged by industrial activities. Yet, there are ongoing actions contrary to what the Court has ordered. This order is waiting for its implementation. When will your government implement this order?
The quality of groundwater in Gujarat has reached at critical stage and yet it is being contaminated continuously. Orders for clean drinking water are passed based on the visit of the Supreme Court committee, and the committee is not able to visit all the affected villages of the Golden Corridor. The groundwater of about 14 districts and about 74 talukas of Gujarat are critically affected by pollution. Even if we take the routine parameter like Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Total Hardness (TS), Dissolved Oxygen (DO), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), and some heavy metal like Cadmium, Copper, Lead, Mercury, Iron etc. Thus condition of the groundwater of Gujarat requires immediate attention as the rural population is deprived of the very basic need of safe drinking water and clean water for their animals and crops.
Ahmedabad, Daskroi, Mehmedavad, Vadodara, Ankleshwar, Bardoli, Choryasi, Kamrej, Mangrol, Olpad, Palsana, Valod, Vyara, Navsari, Sanand, Dhoraji, Jetpur, Okha Mandal etc talukas are critically polluted. Amreli, Jambusar, Junagad, Mandvi, Kalol, Morvi, Upleta, Mahuva, Chorila, Dhangadhar, Limdi, Bansda, Umbergaon etc talukas are found moderately polluted. If we talk about Vatva to Vapi – Golden Corridor it is clear that 70% of the groundwater is contaminated and it has reached the irreversible level. When you are going to act on this serious issue of contamination of ground water?
(8) The air pollution situation is also alarming in the Golden Corridor of Gujarat. The Gujarat Pollution Control Board admits in writing “5. PROBABLE POLLUTANTS: … (B) Air: HCL, SO2, NH3, H2S, NOx, PM2.5, PM10, VOCs, PAHs, PCBs, VINYL CHLORIDE. Note: Benzene, VOCs, PAHs, PCBs, vinyl chloride are not being monitored by GPCB, as no measuring facility is available with GPCB. This statement speaks for itself. In an advanced state like Gujarat, why do we not have facilities to take these basic measurements? Moreover, when will you take actions to clean up the air quality, which has become some poor?
(9) You are the chairman of the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority and the same authority has to implement ‘The Gujarat State Disaster Management Act, 2003. The Act clearly states ‘(2) (h) “ disaster” means an actual or imminent event, whether natural or otherwise occurring in any part of the State which causes, or threatens to cause all or any of the following: (i) widespread loss or damage to property, both immovable and movable; or (ii) widespread loss of human life or injury or illness to human beings; or (iii) damage or degradation of environment;’ but the web site of Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority states ‘The GSDMA has been constituted by the Government of Gujarat by the GAD’s Resolution dated 8th February 2001. The Authority has been created as a permanent arrangement to handle the natural calamities.’ What about environmental disasters? There is no ‘Comprehensive Chemical Emergency Plan’ with the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority. The Director, Health & Safety Department has an ‘Off Site Emergency Plan;’ but when we demanded a copy of it, we were told that it is secret. Kindly clarify your position on the crucial issue of a disaster management plan and its transparency.
(10) A direct outcome of our persistent efforts since 1994 has been forcing GPCB / Government to act against Hema Chemicals of Vadodara which was responsible for illegal dumping of hazardous chromium waste in Gorwa area of Vadodara. As per the direction of the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee the company has been ordered in year 2004 to pay Rs. 17 Crores as first instalment towards remediation of the site. Why has your government failed to remove the hazardous waste dumped by Hema Chemicals, recover the Rs 17 Crores fines from Hema Chemicals as per the direction of Supreme Court?
(11) In Gujarat the Final Effluent Treatment Plant (FETP) of Ankleshwar which was inaugurated by you continues to be unable to meet the Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s norms. The Project is designed to divert industrial pollution from Amla Khadi and the Narmada River. The FETP is operated by Bharuch Eco Aqua Infrastructure Ltd, (now known as ‘Narmada Clean Tech Ltd.’). The FETP was built by the sweat of tax payers. Out of a total project cost of Rs 131.43 Crores, the industries paid only Rs 21.75 Crores (about 17%); the rest of the tab (Rs 109 Crores) was spent by the Central Government, Gujarat Government, and Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) – all of which ultimately draw from public money. It is a familiar story: the profits are distributed privately, but the institutional costs and environmental burden are borne by another segment of the population. Why did you inaugurate the FETP pipeline project despite its non-compliance with the GPCB norms? Why do you endorse the public paying when industries pollute?
(12) Which law allows the effluent that does not meet Gujarat Pollution Control Board norms to be discharged from Tadgam Sarigam Pipeline, from FETP, Ankleshwar, ECP, Vadodara, CETPs of Ahmedabad? We would like you to clarify your position on the issue of such an open and blunt disregard of environment laws.
(13) The Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 is violated across the state. Why Gujarat Pollution Control Board has failed to implement this law?
(14) As per the data provided by ‘The Director Industrial Safety and Health, Government of Gujarat’, 30.33 % of industries are closed in Gujarat as per Government of Gujarat’s own figures dated 1 January 2011. Why figures are not available up to 1 January 2013 on the website? Government of Gujarat is silent about the workers who must have lost their employment because of closure of these industries.
Office wise Factories – Gujarat State – AS on 01/01/2011
Source: Director Industrial Safety and Health, Government of Gujarat website http://labourandemployment.gov.in/dish/statistics/Factories/office_wise.htm
(15) Let us also looks at the Human Development Index of Gujarat State as Government of Gujarat is making very toll claims. Gujarat is no. 11 (two-digit figure) in Human Development Index. Why?
List of Indian states and territories by Human Development Index, 2011
High human development
|6||North eastern India (excluding Assam)||0.573|
|10||Jammu and Kashmir||0.529|
|India (national average)||0.467|
There is little to debate regarding the factual basis underlying our concerns. We have also made our perspective clear: the environment and the well-being of people in general should be treated with more respect than industrial/profit-making interests. By writing this letter, we are soliciting your stance on these issues in writing. In the interest of democracy and transparency, we feel we are entitled to a response from you.
Rohit Prajapati Trupti Shah
[Rohit Prajapati] [Trupti Shah]
 Gobbling farm land for industry a fair game: Minister, Indian Express, 12th January 2011.
 Gobbling farm land for industry a fair game: Minister, Indian Express, 12th January 2011.
 Reply by GSDMA to Rohit Prajapati dated 10-8-2007
 Reply by GSDMA to Rohit Prajapati dated 23-8-2007
 Reply by Director, Health & Safety Department, Vadodara, to Rohit Prajapati, dated 9-9-2010
 State Environmental Action Programme – Industrial Pollution Phase III – Sectoral Report, Volume – I, Gujarat Ecology Commission, April 2002
 Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Abatement Action Plan – Vapi Industrial Cluster – Gujarat, GPCB, Gandhinagar 2010
Rohit Prajapati / Trupti Shah
37, Patrakar Colony, Tandalja Road,
Post-Akota, Vadodara – 390 020
Phone No. (O) + 91 – 265 – 2320399
Email No: [email protected]
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