By Rohit Prajapati*
Lifting of the moratorium from Vapi, Ankleshwar and Vatva is a setback to environment protection and for those affected by industrial pollution in the area. It appears that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is now merged with the Ministry of Commerce and Industries. Our struggle on ground and in the court against polluting industries & their government will continue.
Mr. Anil Dave, the Union Environment Minister, accompanied with Mr. Vijay Rupani, the Chief Minister of Gujarat and industrialists announced the lifting of the moratorium from Vapi, Ankleshwar and Vatva. Significantly, this announcement happened in the absence of pollution affected people, while their representatives Mr. Salimbhai Patel, Jayeshbhai Patel and others fighting for environment protection were being detained.
The Union environment Minister guarantees two things: the appeasement of polluting industries and irreversible damage to the environment.
The imposition of Moratorium during the UPA Government was a quiet affair that stands in stark contrast today when the BJP government lifted the moratorium in a grand show in the presence of Industrialists from Vapi, Ankleshwar and Vatva. Announcement in such a way clearly tells loudly and openly to the people of India that Government’s environment ministry is not for protection of environment and instead has an agenda ‘Of the Industrial Lobby, By the Industrial Lobby and For the Industrial Lobby.’
The Chief Minister of Gujarat and Environment Minister, Government of India now stand responsible with the polluting industries of the area for the immediate repercussion of such hasty decision on the environment of the area.
Let me remind the Environment Ministry and Chief Minister of Gujarat that the ground water of these areas is severely polluted and no concrete steps are taken for the remedial measures to decontaminate the ground water.
Who is going to take the remedial steps to decontaminate the ground water? Does Mr. Modi Government’s “Swachh Bharat Mission” have any plan to decontaminate the ground water of these industrial clusters?
I request Mr. Anil Dave and Mr. Vijay Rupani to read the report of Central Pollution Control Board “Groundwater Pollution in Luna, Dhudhwada, Pludara Area near Vadodara, Gujarat” (July 2016) and “Report on Effluent Conveyance System (M/s ECPL) for Nandesari Industrial Area and Industries Located near Vadodara, Gujarat” (February 2010) and visit this area with the press and answer the questions of the press there after.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change refuses to take policy decision to protect and improve the environment; it should drop the pretence of its existence and merge itself with the Ministry of Industry. The State Pollution Control Boards and Central Pollution Control Board should also now be merged with the Industries Commissionerate.
Our struggle on ground and in the court against polluting industries & their government will continue.
*Environment activist, Gujarat