Skip to main content

Develop mechanism to assess damage caused by environmental pollution, degradation

In a letter addressed to Justice HL Dattu, National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi, Paryavaran Mitra’s Mahesh Pandya insists on the need on the need to develop a mechanism to assess damage caused to people due to environmental pollution and degradation by industries, causing health hazards and provide compensation to the affected people. The letter has been co-signed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties’ (PUCL’s) Gautam Thaker. Text:
***
We are Gujarat-based voluntary organization working in the field of environment and industrial pollution issues. Our main focus is on ecological/environmental imbalance due to developmental projects, social injustice, human rights violations, and tries to resolve these issues.
We would like to draw your attention towards the status of Gujarat in terms of environment. CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India), in its report submitted in 2015 as well as 2011 regarding Gujarat’s status of CETP (Common Effluent Treatment Plant) has stated that “None of the CETPs discharged their effluents as per the prescribed norms by the GPCB and wide variations were also noticed in the performance of CETPs. There was non-disposal of hazardous waste timely leading to the pollution of natural water bodies into which these effluents were discharged and polluting the ground water as well as soil of surrounding area. The monitoring mechanism of GPCB/ ROs was ineffective in pursuance of CC&A conditions with CETPs in relation to the conducting of Bio-assay test and development of green belt in premises of CETPs etc.”
Also regarding TSDF (Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities) site, the report states that “As GPCB inspects TSDF sites regularly and they should take immediate step prior to exhaust of landfill site to avoid accumulation of sludge at CETP sites. This indicates that GPCB has not coordinated with the Industries/ TSDF organizer to develop TSDF site to dispose the sludge.”
Now non-disposal of sludge to designated landfill site and non-functioning of CETPs leads to polluting the ground water as well as rivers of surrounding area. Our intention to drawing your attention towards this was that we request you to develop a mechanism to assess damage cause to people due to contamination of ground water and rivers by the industries and give them appropriate compensation.
For this we would like to give you reference of one judgment namely “Solanki Jaswantsinh Kalusinh ­ Petitioner(s) Versus District Collector & 5 ­ Respondent(s) given in 2009, which states that “There must be some mechanism so that damage caused can be assessed as early as possible and the victims be compensated.” In our view, it is the primary responsibility of the GPCB.
If it discharges its official duties effectively and properly, such situation would not occur. Why should farmers be penalized for the inaction of the officers of the GPCB and due to the wrongful discharge of effluents into water courses? In such a situation, the only course open to us is to give a direction to the GPCB to see that as soon as on inspection it finds an industrial unit is causing serious environmental pollution, the matter may immediately be reported to the Principal District Judge and the District Collector of the concerned District.
District Judge in consultation with the District Collector will take immediate steps to depute a team consisting of members of GPCB, District Collector, Secretaries of Forest and Environment Department, Irrigation and Water Resources Department, Animal Husbandry Department, President of Gram Panchayat/ Municipality or their representatives for inspection so as to assess the extent of pollution and harm caused to the environment.
Committee would issue notice to the polluter, assess the compensation and submit its report to the District Judge. District Judge would examine and decide about the damage caused to the environment and direct payment of a reasonable amount to the “Environment Fund” to be maintained by the State Government.”
So we request you to give direction for implementation of this judgment in Gujarat as soon as possible and also want you to make efforts to implement it throughout the country as with the industrialization and development all the states are facing similar issues of environmental degradation and damage to natural resources causing health hazards.

A Letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Mahesh Pandya of Paryavaran Mitra, requesting him to make solid waste disposal system a priority in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:

Paryavaran Mitra is a Gujarat-based advocacy organization working on socio-environmental issues since 1997. It acts as a watchdog and pressure group in the formation of policies and implementation of environment acts and rules. We appreciate your initiative to fulfill Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of clean India by launching ambitious Swachh Bharat Abhiyan two years back and we are happy that the country is going to celebrate Swachh Bharat Divas on 2nd October 2016 on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.
Under your leadership, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has also recently notified six waste management rules in beginning of 2016, among which sixth rule is “The Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016”.
These will replace the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, by extending its limit beyond municipal area to cover outgrowths in urban agglomerations, census towns, notified industrial townships, SEZ etc.
Past learning has shown that the implementation of rules has always been a challenge in India. There are several examples which I would like to highlight before you that show poor implementation and management of municipal solid waste sites in Gujarat. I would like to seek your attention to some of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) cases of Gujarat which were filed due to mismanagement of municipal solid waste sites.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a great initiative to make India clean, but mere cleaning will not make it a success unless disposal system to dispose of this collected waste is made proper. If solid waste disposal sites are not managed properly, it can give rise to several water borne diseases and contaminate ground water affecting human health.
First case is of “Paryavaran Mitra (Janvikas) Ors vs Gujarat State Pollution Control on 20 December, 2013” which was filed by our organization for air and water pollution caused by the Rajkot Municipal Solid Waste disposal and landfill management site at village Nakravadi, managed by Rajkot Municipal Corporation. NGT delivered its judgment in six months, ruling that Rs 1 lakh be paid as compensation to the applicants as the cost involved in filing the case, and Rs 25 lakh to the affected farmers.
Next case was filed in 2014 in western zone bench of the NGT by Surat-based Kantha Vibhag Yuva Koli Samaj Parivartan Trust, praying for implementation of the MSW Rules, 2000. The bench, while passing the direction, despite several orders by the NGT, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has failed to come up with a proper municipal solid waste (MSW) programme and then was recover amount of Rs75 crore for noncompliance.
Next case is an ongoing case of the Ahmedabad municipal corporation. A PIL has been filed in Gujarat High Court by acitivist Kaleem Siddiqui and Javed Qureshi in 2016 for mismanaged landfill site causing serious health issues for people living in that area. This landfill site which is also called Pirana landfill site has 5 big heaps of mountains of garbage and we have observed that throughout the day smoke is coming out from some or other part of these garbage mountain.
As Mumbai’s largest dumping ground caught fire this year, it is quite possible that a similar incident can happen in Ahmedabad too. So our question is if the situation of urban municipal areas is so poor so what can we expect from rural areas where there is lack of awareness! Also lack of adequate funding is also a big hurdle for proper implementation of the mission. So even though we will clean streets, cities, town, but unless final disposal site and waste management system is not made proper, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan cannot be a success.
With the above note, we would like to give some suggestions regarding this.
We strongly believe that before implementation of solid waste management rules 2016, there is need for massive awareness and proper training within communities so that people can actually understand the importance of segregation which the new rule mandates and then participate in the cleanliness mission.
The new rules gives provision that “the local bodies can charge a certain fee from generators for proper management” but on the contradictory we suggest that there is a need for incentives like awards to the rural/urban areas to encourage better implementation of the rules for which ministry can approach corporate houses.
Another thing we would like to emphasize is on the funding that is required for management of such rules especially in rural areas which I would suggest can be channelized from CSR funds. We hereby kindly I request you to make solid waste disposal system a priority in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to make it a success.

Comments

TRENDING

Sorry state of Indian academics: why was I thrown out of Delhi varsity interview room?

By Dr. Abhay Kumar*  The interview for the post of political science (Guest) was scheduled on Saturday afternoon, September 10, 2022. Given my previous experience, I was not willing to appear for it. But friends persuaded me to go and fight for our rights. I reached the college well before the time. When my turn came and I entered the room. The first question was asked about my experience. I said that I had taught for four semesters at NCWEB. I mentioned that I had taught ”Comparative politics”, “International Relations”, “Comparative Political Thoughts” and “Indian Government and Politics”. I said that as a teacher I had taught all the articles listed in the syllabus of the same Delhi University and the expert could ask anything about any reading or ideas. Friends, the first question asked by a female member, perhaps she is the principal of the college if I am not wrong, to give the full form of NCWEB! The second question asked by a male expert, perhaps he is the political science dep

Musician and follower of Dr Ambedkar? A top voilinist has this rare combination!

Some time back, a human rights defender, Vidya Bhushan Rawat, who frequently writes for Counterview, forwarded to me a video interview with Guru Prabhakar Dhakade, calling him one of India's well known violinists.  Dhakade is based in Nagpur and has devoted his life for the Hindustani classical music. A number of his disciples have now been part of Hindi cinema world in Mumbai, says Rawat. He has performed live in various parts of the country as well as abroad. What however attracted me was Dhakade's assertions in video about Dr BR Ambedkar, India's undisputed Dalit icon. Recorded several years back at his residence and music school in Nagpur, Dhakade not only speaks candidly about issues he faced, but that he is a believer in Dr Ambedkar's philosophy. It is in this context that Dhakade narrates his problems, even as stating that he is determined to achieve his goal. A violinist and a follower of Ambedkar? This was new to me. Rarely do musicians are found to take a

Tokens, symbols or incipient feminists? : First generation women sociologists in India

By IMPRI Team  The online event on the theme ‘Tokens, Symbols or Incipient Feminists? : The first Generation of Women Sociologists in India’ was held as an initiative of Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi under the #WebPolicyTalk series of The State of Gender Equality – #GenderGaps. Inaugurating the session, Zubiya Moin welcomed the speaker and participants to the program, followed by an introduction to the eminent panelists. Commencing the program, Prof Vibhuti Patel made her opening remarks welcoming Prof Kamla Ganesh, Feminist Sociologists and then greeted Prof Ratna Naidu and the editors of book ‘Reimaging Sociology in India: Feminist Perspective’, Dr Gita Chadha and Dr. Joseph M.T. along with Prof Arvinder Ansari and also welcomed all participants. She set up the stage by making us familiar with women sociologists and their works. Dr Gita Chadha, Editor of the book ‘Reimaging Sociology in India: Feminist Perspective’ After th

Omission of duty by BSF and police: Hindu forcefully kidnapped, taken to Bangladesh

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), & National Convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI) writes to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission: *** I am writing this to focus on the life and situation of the poor and marginalized villagers living alongside the Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal. Through the several complaints we made throughout the years to your good office, it is now evident that the people of this border are living in an acute crisis, not only from a financial perspective but also in terrible distress. The people of the border are devoid of their basic rights and are subjected to immense torture, harassment and restrictions mostly enacted by the Border Security Force personnel, who are supposed to be posted at the international borders with intentions to protect the Indian citizenry. However, on the contrary, incidents of victimizing Indian citizens are being witnessed at large by the BSF. 130 Bhot

Tamil Nadu govt claiming to reform Hindu religion, temples. People deserve better

By NS Venkataraman  For the last several decades, there have been hate campaign against Hinduism in Tamil Nadu in a subtle or not so subtle manner. Initially, it was a hate campaign against brahmins and the brahmins were abused, insulted and physically attacked. Fearing such conditions, many brahmin families left Tamil Nadu to settle down in other states in India or have gone abroad. Now, the brahmin population in Tamil Nadu is at microscopic level, for which these hate campaigners against brahmins were responsible. Later on, emboldened by the scenario of scared brahmin families not resisting and running away, the hate campaigners started focusing on Hindus. For some years, when M.G.Ramachandran and Jayalalitha were the chief ministers of the state, the hate Hindu campaigners were not much heard, as both these chief ministers were staunch believers in Hindu philosophy and have been offering prayers in temples in full public view. However, in the last eighteen months in

Emerging dimensions of India’s foreign policy in the context of global politics

By IMPRI Team  The three-day course took place recently, providing participants with an understanding of the development of Indian foreign policy, the complexity of geopolitics, and its flexibility to adjust to and even shape global outcomes. Many distinguished academics, senior scholars, former Indian diplomats, and journalists who are skilled observers and commentators of India’s foreign policy will serve as instructors for this course. Day 1 The three-day immersive online certificate training on “Emerging Dimensions of India’s Foreign Policy and Global Politics”, an initiative by the Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) at IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), began on July 14th, 2022 at 5:00 PM (IST) on Zoom platform. Dr Souravie Ghimiray served as the emcee throughout the 3 days of the event and welcomed the distinguished speakers of Day 1. The esteemed panel on Day 1 consisted of, Dr Soumita Basu, Associate Professor, Department of Intern

Demographic parameters of India@75: resource allocation, political representation

By IMPRI Team  As per UN Population Prospects 2022, India is going to be the most populous country in the world. In this regard, IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi with #IMPRI Center for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD) , organized a panel discussion, #WebPolicyTalk, as part of the series The State of Population Development- #PopulationAnd Development on India@75: Most Populous Country? The moderator of the event was Mr Devender Singh, Global Studies Programme, University of Freiburg and a Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. The panellists for the event were Prof P.M Kulkarni, Demographer, Retired Professor of Population Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) , New Delhi; Dr U.V Somayajulu, Co-Founder, CEO and Executive Director, Sigma Research and Consulting ; Dr Sonia George, General Secretary, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Kerala; Prof K.S James, Director and Senior Professor, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai. Th

Bhagawat Gita shows the way for the attitude to life and desirable goal of life

By NS Venkataraman*  When a mother delivers a human body, this body has no identity. Then, parents, relatives, friends consult each other and discuss the alternate appropriate names and arrive at a suitable name for this human body and this body is known and identified by this name. This human body, which steadily grow just like animals, plants and others and after experiencing the pleasures and pains of worldly life alternately for several years, perish one day, for the body to be burnt or buried. This body, bearing a name as it’s identity, comes in to the world and goes away from the world and the name that is the identity for the body also goes away along with the body. This is the scenario for several thousands of years that have gone by. The question: One question that does not seem to be still “convincingly explained” in a way that will appeal to the brain in the human body, is as to whether this human body only consists of flesh, bone and blood with well

Trying to tell a rooted story: Decolonial imagery, Brahmastra and Pushpa’s Srivalli

By Gautam Bisht*  I recently watched Brahmastra and I feel the film is a nice illustration of the disastrous turn good intentions may take. The film is trying to tell a rooted story, about ‘astras’ using high quality VFX (whatever that is) but comes across as cringe. With no dearth of awkward moments in the film, my personal favorite are scenes where Shiva is touching the feet of his elders. The film just manages to make regular everyday actions look bizarre and alien. It’s the kind of film that can make even right-wing people feel disappointed in tradition. One way to explain this, is the paradox of decoloniality. If you don't know what decoloniality is, it may just mean that you are doing some interesting stuff in life. But as someone interested in social science, I have to work with such concepts. Simply put, decoloniality cannot be explained simply. One has to go through some dense and convoluted spaces to get there. It’s like scoring weed for the first time in Delhi. You would

Not my burden of shame: Malaysia's apathy in tackling problem of sexual harassment

By Jeswan Kaur*  "There was no such thing as child abuse. Parents owned their children. They could do whatever they wanted." -- actress Ellen Burstyn Condemning, judging and humiliating - it this the very nature of people in general or is this what Malaysians are best known for? When a 15-year-old actress recently made a damning revelation that she was molested as a child by her perverted father, support was far from coming. Instead, many name shamed Puteri Nuraaina Balqis, calling her "stupid" and rebuking her for seeking cheap publicity by insulting her father. They "advised" her to pray more, "be thankful to her father for bringing her into this world and remember that she would be given something by Allah for insulting her father." Would any of those who condemned Puteri Balqis "enjoy" being molested, raped or sexually harassed? Would they fancy calling their house a sanctuary when safety was no where in sight? Do these insensitive