Skip to main content

VECL pipeline pollution: Average COD 2500 plus instead of accepted level, 250

Letter by Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Vadodara, addressed to senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials, asking them to (1) declare ‘Chemical Emergency’ for ‘ECP Industrial Cluster’ of Vadodara District, (2) cancel the ‘Consolidated Consent and Authorization’ (CC&A) of ‘Vadodara Envior Channel Limited’, cancel ‘Environment Clearance’ (EC) of all the defaulting polluting industries, and (3) file criminal case against VECL and defaulting polluting industries as per Order, dated 22.02.2017, of the Supreme Court in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 375 of 2012 (Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti & Anrs V/s Union of India & Ors):

You all should agree with us that the Governments and State are expected to take all possible actions to implement the Environment Laws of the Land.
Similarly, it is expected that the Governments and State also are expected to implement, in letter and spirit the Supreme Court Order, dated 22.02.2017, of Writ Petition (Civil) No. 375 of 2012 and National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, Order dated 03.08.2018, in Original Application No. 593 of 2017.
We are writing letters since the year 2000 about the ‘Effluent Channel Project’ (ECP) of ‘Vadodara Envior Channel Limited’, which is not able to meet the prescribed norms. This is now publicly known well-known fact. We had time and again taken up this issue of non-compliance with the concerned authorities but there has been no-response in terms of real firm actions on ground as if silence is their only reply or being non-committal is their commitment to the environment and law of the land.
In such circumstances, we request that the Secretary, MoEFCC, the Chief Secretary, Gujarat State and the Chairman & Member Secretary of the GPCB to enlighten us with the law or judicial discretion under which such an illegal effluent discharge from the VECL is still allowed to be released despite it consistently not meeting the prescribed norms of the GPCB. If we take the example of even last six months, average COD is more than 2500 instead of the accepted level of 250 and those of the past, since beginning, are admittedly not able to meet the prescribed norms.
We are extremely concerned that the Secretary, MoEFCC; the Chief Secretary, Gujarat State; and the Chairman & Member Secretary of the GPCB are openly allowing the VECL to consistently and admittedly to violate the environment laws and now allowing the known and admitted violation of the Order, dated 22.02.2017, of the Supreme Court in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 375 of 2012 (Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti & Anrs V/s Union of India & Ors) and National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, Delhi Order, dated 03.08.2018, in Original Application No. 593 of 2017, (Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti & Anrs V/s Union of India & Ors). This is nothing but Contempt of the Supreme Court’s Order.
The CC&A, dated 06.01.2015, clearly mentions, “10. VECL have only one outlet for the discharge of its effluent and no effluent shall be discharged without requisite treatment & without meeting with the GPCB norms.” There are many more such terms and condition mentioned in the said CC&A but the concerned authorities have failed to look into the compliance of these crucial terms and condition of CC&A.
Your inaction gives clear indication that you all, as concerned authorities, are not only well aware of these facts, but you also have taken conscious decisions to illegally allow such consistently blatant, admitted, and undisputed violations of environment laws of the land and Supreme Court Order, dated 22.02.2017, in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 375 of 2012.
The Effluent Channel Project (ECP) of Vadodara passes through 24 villages and prime agricultural land, which is known as the ‘Vegetable Basket of Gujarat’. The 55.6 km long effluent channel was commissioned in the year of 1983 to carry “treated” industrial effluent from industries near Vadodara to estuary of River Mahi, Gulf of Cambay. It carries the effluent of Nandesari Industrial Estate and industries located in Vadodara Industrial Complex and later on, from 1995 onwards, number of polluting industries started coming up along both the side of the ECP.
Since 2004, the villages around the ECP have experienced groundwater contamination at alarming rates. The pollution began because of the seepage, leaching, leaking, and overflowing of effluent from the ECP and, later, from illegal untreated effluent discharged by number of polluting industries, which were established from 1995 onwards along the ECP and illegal discharge by the industries located in Nandesari Industrial Estate and in Vadodara Industrial Complex.
There have been several repeated investigations conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board, Gujarat Pollution Control Board, and various agencies appointed by the concerned authorities. These clearly demonstrate that the groundwater of villages around the ECP area is critically contaminated and needs immediate intervention, by the concerned authorities to stop further pollution and to have short-term and long-term plan to decontaminate the groundwater of the area.
The CPCB report titled – “Ground Water Pollution In Luna, Dudhawada, Piludara 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, provides sufficient evidence to take the immediate action. The report also recommends immediate, short-term, and long-term remedial measures and also the adoption of the “Polluter Pay Principle”, laid down by the Supreme Court of India.
Further, a number of meetings were organised in the presence of the Member Secretary of the GPCB, the representatives of the industries of the ECP area, and representatives of affected villages and voluntary organisations working in this area on environment. In these meetings, there was no dispute about contamination of groundwater and spreading of contamination in the area.
There is agreement that ECP and/or number of industries across ECP channel are responsible for this contamination of groundwater. The Farmers’ Action Group (FAG) has continuously pointed out that the bottom of ECP has not been repaired, as its bottom has not ever been emptied fully since it was commissioned because of indiscipline and nonchalance. That is why now phase-wise in place of Channel commissioning of the pipeline is going on.
It is utterly shocking to put on record that the entire stretches of pipeline, laid inside the existing old brick-and-mortar Effluent Channel, was installed whilst effluent was continuously flowing in Effluent Channel of VECL. It is noticed during our visit with the GPCB and VECL officials that the newly installed pipeline along Luna-Ekalbara is leaking.
Two pipeline stretches, one installed at Luna-Ekalbara, and another one-year-old pipeline installed along part of Karakhdi-Hathiapura, were inspected by the Regional Officer and the Vigilance Officers of GPCB, and officers of VECL in the presence of the affected people. A detailed letter, dated 09.11.2018 and 15.11.2018, with videos and photographs are sent to you all by the FAG. This clearly indicates that the groundwater contamination is continuing due to leakage of pipeline at various places.
Neither the GPCB nor the industrialist have denied that the groundwater is severely contaminated, the contamination is spreading in different areas, and it has reached irreversible level because of incessant industrial activities.
Between 27.01.2011 and 24.02.2011 detailed investigations were conducted by GPCB and the Collector’s Office of Vadodara regarding the contamination of groundwater in Village Luna of District Vadodara. The investigation report reveals that almost all wells and bore wells were contaminated. Another study in Luna Village conducted in May 2015 prima facie proved that its ground water is severally contaminated and the contamination is spreading. In April 2015, another investigation was conducted by GPCB in Dudhawada Village of District Vadodara and in villages Piludara and Vedach of District Bharuch, which illustrated the fact that the bore wells of even these villages too are severely contaminated. There are many more such villages across the ECP area where the groundwater continues to be increasingly and critically polluted.
The following studies were conducted which reveal the fact that the whole ECP area is in a critical condition as far as groundwater and air pollutions are concerned:
(1) April 2008 – The Department of Water Resources Development and Management, IIT, Roorkee published a report, “Residual Life Assessment (RLA) Study of Effluent Channel”, regarding the physical condition of the effluent channel carrying industrial effluents from Vadodara to Mahi Estuary. This report clearly exposed the alarming fact that the physical condition of ECP is in very bad shape, which is also responsible for the ground water contamination.
(2) February 2010 – CPCB released the “Report on Effluent Conveyance System (M/S ECPL) for Nandesari Industrial Area and Industries Located near Vadodara, Gujarat” highlighting the grim situation due to industrial pollution in the area.
(3) Vide its letter, dated 05.05.2011, Effluent Channel Project Limited (ECPL) informed GPCB that certain non-member industries of ECPL having a zero discharge status were disposing their untreated wastewater through reverse boring. ECPL(now known as Vadodara Enviro Channel Limited) also maintained that it had been regularly submitting monthly reports relating to violation of inlet norms to GPCB.
(4) September 2011 – The Institute of Seismological Research, Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, came out with a report regarding ground water pollution in the ECP area exposing the extent of damage done due to industrial pollution in and around Luna Village.
(5) “Ground Water Pollution in Luna, Dudhawada, Piludara Area near Vadodara, Gujarat”, July 2016.
Since 2003 onwards there have been numerous letters written and representations written made by impacted farmers, collectively & and individually, and also by the FAG regarding the pollution issue and for opposing polluting industries coming in to the ECP area. Yet, except for conducting investigations and closing down factories for a few days, no effective action has been taken yet by the concerned authorities.
The matter has not been at all considered seriously. This has led to a crisis situation wherein the people have neither potable drinking water nor good quality water for their animals and for agricultural purposes. No serious steps have been initiated neither to stop the further spread of pollution in the area nor to pinpoint the names of the industries that are responsible for this pollution and irreversible damage done to the area.
There are a number of farmers who had been practicing organic farming (i.e. farming without the use of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizers) but because of the groundwater pollution, they are not in the position to claim their agriculture produce as organic. Further, animals used for animal husbandry are forced to drink this contaminated water and eat the fodder, which is grown using contaminated ground water.
The farmers who are affected by groundwater contamination and pollution have not been compensated in terms of money or in kind, in spite of the fact that nobody disputes the fact that the problem of contamination of groundwater and air pollution is because of the polluting industries located around the villages and area vis-à-vis the ECP.
Recent visit by us with GPCB officials clearly indicates that the COD at Vedach is not able to meet the prescribed norms of GPCB and it is an admitted facts that the ECP is not able to meet the norms from its very inception.
Keeping in mind the above alarming facts and reality, which is not under dispute neither by CPCB, GPCB, Vadodara Enviro Channel Limited, nor the industries located in this area, 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 must be taken by the concerned authorities:
Cancel the ‘Consolidated Consent and Authorization’ (CC&A) of ‘Vadodara Envior Channel Limited’.
Appoint a high-level committee to investigate the leakage in the newly installed pipeline along the pipeline stretches, one installed at Luna-Ekalbara, and another one-year-old pipeline installed along the Dudhawada area. An exemplary punitive action must be taken against all the top officers of ‘Vadodara Enviro Channel Limited’ and its contractor and sub-contractors.
Issue closure notice to the ‘Vadodara Enviro Channel Limited’.
Initiate criminal case against the all responsible officers of ‘Vadodara Envior Channel Limited’.
Take exemplary action including cancellation of ‘Environment Clearance’ (EC) against all the defaulting polluting industries and their main owner and responsible officers of the industries located in Nandesari Industrial Estate, Vadodara Industrial Complex, and ‘ECP industrial Cluster’.
Order in clear terms that no industry along ‘ECP Industrial Cluster’ will be allowed to use any groundwater outside their premises and if any industry is using groundwater outside its premises, it should be immediately fined and prosecuted under the environment laws.
Monitor, using latest flow meters, the use-misuse of groundwater by the industries from their premises and check the tankers, which are coming from a far away distance.
Allow the use of present remaining sources of clean water outside the industries by the farmers and villagers of the affected areas for drinking and agricultural purpose and no commercial or industrial use should be allowed in the area.
Ensure ad-hoc monetary Exemplary Compensation to the farmers and villagers who have suffered from the groundwater pollution. This should be decided by CPCB, GPCB, affected farmers, and the representatives of the Voluntary Organisation working in this area as first installment as well as per month per contaminated well until decontamination of well is done by way of short-term and long-term remedial measures based on the “Polluter Pays Principle”.
Ensure payment pay per day per animal, the value of milk yield, to the farmers engaged in animal husbandry and are having affected buffalos, cows, and other animals that are drinking contaminated groundwater and/or their fodder is grown using contaminated groundwater.
Ensure ad-hoc payment per season per acre to the farmers who are forced to use contaminated groundwater for irrigation of agricultural land and hence are facing several severe problems.
Ensure lump sum ad-hoc compensation to all the affected farmers per acre for the past damages.
Ensure that the amount for compensation is decided in consultation with the affected people and theirorganisation working on environment related issues in this area.
Appoint a competent committee to assess the ongoing damage and the damage of the past to quantify and pay the real compensation for the damage done to the farmers.
Devise short-term and long-term plans immediately taking remedial measures to decontaminate the groundwater based on the “Polluter Pays Principle”.
Declare a ‘Chemical Emergency’ in the ‘ECP Industrial Cluster’ and include ECP area as a Critically Polluted Area.
Impose an immediate moratorium on expansion of existing industries and for new industries in this area.
Devise an option of shifting of known polluting industries from this area in the interest of life, livelihood and environment of the area.
Implement the Order, dated 22.02.2017, of the Supreme Court in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 375 of 2012 (Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti & Anrs V/s Union of India & Ors) and National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, Delhi Order, dated 03.08.2018, in Original Application No. 593 of 2017, (Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti & Anrs V/s Union of India & Ors) in letter and spirit.
Appoint a high level committee of the MoEFCC, CPCB, GPCB, local state authority, representatives of affected villagers and the representatives of the voluntary organisations working in this area on environment to do day-to-day monitoring and evaluation of all these works carried out in the area.

We expect your prompt and positive response in the interest of life, livelihoods, and environment of the concerned areas.
If you do not act know, your inaction shall be considered as Contempt of the Court of the Hon’ble Supreme Court order, dated 22.02.2017, in our PIL – Writ Petition (Civil) 375 of 2012.

Comments

TRENDING

Vishwanath has been unfairly excluded from global list of 100 best cricketers

By Harsh Thakor  Gundappa Vishwanath scaled zones in batting artistry or wizardry unparalleled amongst Indian batsmen. The best of his batting was a manifestation of the divine. He was also the epitome of cricketing sportsmanship. Sadly 40 years ago he unceremoniously bid farewell to the International cricket world, after the concluding test at Karachi in 1982-83., in January end. Very hard to visualise a character like Vishwanath being reborn today His memories are embedded in cricket lovers today when sportsmanship and grace have virtually been relegated to oblivion with the game of cricket turned into a commercial commodity. Today agro and unsporting behaviour is a routine feature Vishy shimmered cricket’s spirituality. His behaviour on the cricket field was grace personified, No one in his age defined cricket more as a gentleman’s game, than Vishy. Vishwanath could execute strokes that were surreal with his steel wrists. His strokeplay resembled the touches of a painter’s brush,

Abrogation of Art 370: Increasing alienation, relentless repression, simmering conflict

One year after the abrogation by the Central Government of Art. 370 in Kashmir, what is the situation in the Valley. Have the promises of peace, normalcy and development been realised? What is the current status in the Valley? Here is a detailed note by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties , “Jammu & Kashmir: One Year after Abrogation of Art. 370: Increasing Alienation, Relentless Repression, Simmering Conflict”:

Reproductive, conjugal rights of women in India amidst debate of uniform civil code

By IMPRI Team  A Three-Day Immersive Online Legal Awareness and Certificate Training Course on “Reproductive and Conjugal Rights of Women in India” is an initiative of the Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, and ran for three consecutive days starting from December 22, 2022 to December 24, 2022. The online paid certification was aimed to provide attendees with an enriching experience on the gender discourse with a special focus on women’s rights and the much-discussed reproductive rights in India.

Covid jabs: Pretexts cited to justify young, healthy succumbing to heart attacks

By Jay Ihsan   Truth is stranger than fiction – when dedicated doctors raised the red flag against the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, they were persecuted and their concerns barred from being heard. These honest doctors unequivocally made it known the Moderna Pfizer vaccines injure the heart and human body. One of them, Dr Peter McCullough, an American cardiologist, has repeatedly issued the clarion call to people to reject these harmful vaccines. An equally alarmed World Council for Health said the harmful Covid-19 vaccines should be removed from the market and the global inoculation must be stopped. “In Japan the vaccines were not mandated or made compulsory. The vaccines are not safe or effective enough to mandate them. The day the vaccines go away will be a day of celebration,” Dr Mccullough had lamented during an interview with India’s media outfit, Qvive several months ago. Meanwhile, the number of people jabbed with the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines died soon after or have developed lifelong

Gender gap 17%, SC and ST levels of education between 7% to 14% below upper classes

By IMPRI Team  The treatment of school education in a holistic manner and improving school effectiveness in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and learning outcomes has been the aspiration of all and multiple challenges are faced to maintain and provide proper education. On the occasion of India@75: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, as part of its series- the State of Education- #EducationDialogue, #IMPRI Center for ICT for Development (CICTD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organised a special deliberation on The State of School Education In India with Prof Muchkund Dubey, who is the President of the Council for Social Development, New Delhi. The moderator for the event, Dr Simi Mehta CEO and Editorial Director of the IMPRI. The chair of the event was Prof Jandhyala B.G. Tilak, an Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) National Fellow, the Distinguished Professor at the Council for Social Development, New Delhi and also a Former Professor & Vice-Ch

Rahul Dravid exhibited selflessness in heights unscaled by any other Indian batsman

By Harsh Thakor*  On January 11th maestro Rahul Dravid turned 50. No Indian batsmen were ever more of an embodiment of temperament or grit.as Rahul Dravid. Dravid was the best ambassador of sportsmanship in cricket in his day and age. In his time no Asian batsmen did what the doctor ordered, to the extent of Dravid. Dravid was manifestation of single-mindedess, tenacity and selflessness in sport. One hardly has an adjective to the ice coolness and craft Dravid exhibited in adjusting to the given situation. Rarely did any batsmen exhibit such a clinical o methodical approach to batting.

Data analytics: How scientific enquiry process impacts quality of policy research

By IMPRI Team  Given the multidimensionality of policy and impact research, tech-driven policy prescriptions are playing a dominant role in the 21st century. As such, data analytics have become integral in this space. IMPRI Generation Alpha Data Centre (GenAlphaDC) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute New Delhi has successfully conducted a #WebPolicyTalk 6-Week Immersive Online Hands-on Certificate Training Course on Data Analytics for Policy Research, spanning over 6-consecutive Saturdays from October 15th to November 19th, 2022. Along with this, datasets for hands-on learning were also provided for data analysis and learning. Participants were required to make a submission for evaluation at the end of the course, to obtain the certificate. This course comprised hands-on data learning sessions and various expert sessions on data discourses. The course especially catered to data and policy enthusiasts – including students, professionals, researchers, and other individuals lo

NHRC blindly followed BSF status report on fencing farmland off Indo-Bangladesh border

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) writes an open letter of protest against the action taken status report on restriction imposed by the BSF personnel upon the villagers of Changmari near Indo-Bangladesh border: *** I have the honour to inform you that we received one action taken status report dated 11.01.2023 from your Commission in respect of the above referred case from where it is revealed that your authority closed the case based on the report of the concerned authorities. In this connection I again raise my voice as the enquiry in respect of the above referred case was not properly conducted. Hence I submit this open letter of protest for the ends of justice. From the action taken status report of the Commission dated 11.01.2023 it is reported that concerned authority submitted a report dated 18.01.2022 where it is reported that the concerned area comes under the OPS responsibility of BOP Chengmari, 62 Bn BSF and is highly susceptible to trans-bo

Great march of migrants during lockdown: Lessons not learned, missed opportunities

By IMPRI Team  A panel discussion on “The Great March of Migrants During The National Lockdown: Lessons Not Learned and Missed Opportunities” was organized by the #IMPRI Center for Human Centre for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi on the occasion of International Migrants Day, i.e December 18, 2022. Inaugurating the session, Ms Aanchal Kumari, a researcher at IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction to the eminent panellists. The event was moderated by Dr Devender Singh, a Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. The panellists included Prof. R.B Bhagat, Professor and Head, Department of Migration and Urban Studies, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai; Prof Arun Kumar, Distinguished Economist, a Former Professor Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Malcolm S. Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi; Ms Akriti Bhatia, Founder of People

Brutal assault on Delhi Univ students as fear grips present rulers on rise of dissent

By Arhaan Baaghi  Various democratic student organizations (bsCEM, fraternity, DSU, SIO, AIRSO) had planned a screening of the BBC documentary "India: The Modi Question" in the Delhi University Arts Faculty, but the guards of the university and the Delhi police along with paramilitary forcefully detained the students just because we were trying to watch a documentary that scrutinizes the role of Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots. At first when the students started screening the documentary, the electricity of the department building was cut down. Students were brutally beaten by the police and university guards. Female students were also brutally manhandled and beaten. This whole incident shows the Brahmanical Hindutva fascist nature of the government and the university authority that is working as its puppet. An activist of bsCEM was manhandled by a male security guard, who tried to pull out his T shirt. Also various female activist were dragged by male security guards and their h