October 1, 2021 2:38:17 am
In the past five years, complaints of industrial units causing pollution in Gujarat have doubled with many of them being reported from newer areas such as Rajkot, Jamnagar and Kutch, according to data tabled in the Gujarat Assembly during the recently concluded monsoon session.
Some of these complaints are also coming from areas that are predominantly inhabited by tribal population, it shows.
The Gujarat government stated that it received 271 complaints against 191 industrial units in one year between July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019. Such complaints about industries causing pollution have risen by 100 percent since July 2014 and June 2015 when 135 complaints against 105 units were lodged.
The written response from the government to an unstarred question by Congress MLA Rajeshkumar Gohil also showed that these complaints about polluting units have steadily risen between July 2014 and June 2019.
While industrial clusters in districts such as Ahmedabad, Bharuch and Valsad were among those housing polluting units in the past, the new set of data regarding pollution complaints show that districts such as Rajkot, Jamnagar and Kutch are also facing industrial pollution.
Among the complaints coming from districts, the biggest spike can be seen in Rajkot. Pollution complaints received from Rajkot rose from five complaints against one unit in 2014-15 (July to June) to 31 complaints against 21 industrial units in 2018-’19.
Similarly in Kutch, the complaints rose to 23 in 2018-’19 from just three complaints in 2014-’15. Jamnagar district that houses the marine national park and Khijadia bird sanctuary saw reported 46 complaints in 2018-’19. It is a huge spike from just seven complaints five years ago.
During the five year period, Dangs was the only district in Gujarat to have zero complaints about pollution. However complaints of industrial pollution have started to come from some of the predominant tribal district like Panchmahal, Dahod and Chotta Udepur. For instance, compared to one complaints received from Panchmahal district in 2014-’15, the government received six pollution complaints about nine units in 2018-’19.
Nine districts — Aravalli, Botad, Dahod, Gir-Somnath, Junagadh, Mahisagar, Morbi, Patan and Porbandar — that had zero pollution complaints in 2014-’15, reported one to six complaints in 2018-’19.
Districts like Ahmedabad that had polluted industrial clusters like Vatva and Naroda saw a dip in pollution complaints. The pollution complaints in Ahmedabad district fell by 65 per cent during this five year period. In 2018-’19, only seven complaints were received about industrial units in Ahmedabad. Similarly, Bharuch district, which houses the industrial cluster of Ankleshwar, saw pollution complaints dip by 55 per cent between July 2014 and June 2019.
The pollution complaints from Vadodara which National Green Tribunal (NGT) described as “most polluted industrial cluster” in Gujarat in 2019 saw pollution complaints almost double (18 complaints in 2018-19) during this five year period between July 2014 and June 2019.
In its written response, the state government said that the 962 complaints received between July 2014 and June 2019 were sent to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) for necessary action.
A GPCB official told The Indian Express, “The decrease in pollution complaints in critically polluted areas (Ahmedabad, Bharuch, etc) is due to the action taken by the government against defaulters. The reason for the number of complaints rising in other districts and far-flung areas is due to the increased awareness about pollution among residents. As people recognise their need for cleanliness, even the smallest act of pollution gets reported.”
The official admitted that the number of defaulters are rising every year. “GPCB is cracking down on such polluters,” the official added.
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