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FETP: Perfect example of privatisation of profits, socialisation of costs

FETP Ankaleshwar
Letter to the Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, seeking cancellation of the Consolidated Consent and Authorization (CC & A) and issue closure notice to Narmada Clean Tech (NCT), Ankleshwar, as the Final Effluent Treatment Plant’ (FETP) consistently does not meet the prescribed GPCB norms since its inception by Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti’s Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant:

We are writing letters since 2008 onwards about the Final Effluent Treatment Plant (FETP) of Narmada Clean Tech of Ankleshwar (NCT) which is not able to meet the prescribed norms of GPCB since its inception is publicly well known. We had again taken up this issue of non-compliance with you in our letter dated 12 December 2016 but there is no-response from your office as if silence is your reply or silence is your commitment to the environment.
In such circumstances, we request that the MoEFCC and the GPCB to enlighten us with the law under which the illegal effluent discharge from the NCT is allowed to be released despite not meeting the prescribed norms of the GPCB.
We are extremely concerned that the MoEFCC and GPCB are openly allowing the NCT to consistently admittedly violate environment laws.
The latest investigation results of October, November, December 2016, January and February 2017 clearly indicate that even when moratorium of Ankleshwar and Panoli is lifted it was admittedly not able to meet the prescribed GPCB norms.
The Narmada Clean Tech (NCT), formerly known as Bharuch Eco Aqua Infrastructure Ltd. (BEAIL), earlier a private company, is now a subsidiary company of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC). The GIDC is a statutory corporation and 100% owned by Government of Gujarat. The NCT is also a joint venture of Member Industries of Ankleshwar, Jhagadia and Panoli Industrial Estates.
The NCT claims to receive treated industrial effluent from Ankleshwar, Jhagadia & Panoli Industrial Estates, common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) and to “treat” it at Final Effluent Treatment Plant (FETP) upto prescribed norms of GPCB and then to convey through 52.76 Kms. pipeline into the sea.
The FETP, from its inception till date, has never performed as per the prescribed norms set by the GPCB. Shockingly and surprisingly the same plant’s disposal pipeline project was inaugurated by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Mr. Narendra Modi, now Prime Minister of India on January 25, 2007. By inaugurating this plant, Mr. Modi sent out a message to industry and new investors that compliance with environment laws was a trivial matter in the state.
The pipeline project of Final Effluent Treatment Plant of Ankleshwar was built with the tax payers’ money. 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 expense (Rs. 109 crores) was borne by the Central Government, the Gujarat Government, and the 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 general public. This is the perfect example of the privatisation of profits and the socialisation of the costs, burdens and hazards. Why does government disburse the cost to tax payers when industries pollute?
It is also in the public domain that the 52.97 Kms pipeline which carries the effluent from NCT to the sea for discharge has many times been broken and that lead to illegal discharge into Amla Khadi which at the end meets the Narmada River and much time into the farms lands in various villages.
Repeated complains of the farmers are deliberately ignored.
Your inaction gives clear indication that you as an authority are well aware about these facts yet you have taken conscious decision to illegally allow such consistent blatant violation of environment laws.
We ask you to respect environmental laws. Any action to contrary will be tantamount to committing an extra-legal act akin to an ‘encounter’ of environment laws.
It is expected from you all to implement environmental laws of the country in letter and spirit.
Please provide us the crucial information, under which environment law Tadgam Sarigam Pipeline, from Vapi CETP, from FETP – Ankleshwar, ECP-Vadodara, and CETPs of Ahmedabad are allowed to discharge their effluent in to the water body even though the effluent is not able to meet the prescribed GPCB norms.
Keeping in mind the above alarming facts and reality which is not under dispute, we can surely describe the grave situation as a “chemical emergency”. In order to reduce further harm to the people and environment, the following immediate steps should be taken:
The concerned authority should immediately cancel the ‘Consolidated Consent and Authorization’ (CC & A) of ‘to ‘Narmada Clean Tech (NCT).
The concerned authority should immediately issue a closure notice to Narmada Clean Tech (NCT).
The concerned authority should take exemplary action including cancellation of ‘Environment Clearance’ (EC) of all the defaulting polluting industries and their main owner and responsible officers of these industrial estates.
A committee should be appointed to assess the ongoing damage and the damage of the past to quantify and pay the real compensation for the damage done to the villagers.
An immediate short and long term plan should be made for remedial measures to decontaminate the ground water based on the “Polluter Pays Principle”.
A high level committee of the MoEFCC, CPCB, GPCB, local state authority, representatives of affected villagers and the representatives of the voluntary organizations working in this area on environment should be appointed to do day-to-day monitoring of the area.
We expect your prompt immediate response in the interest of life, livelihood and environment of the area. If you do not act know it will also be considered as the contempt of the court of the Hon’ble Supreme Court order dated 22 February 2017 in our PIL – Writ Petition (Civil) 375 of 2012.

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