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Greens oppose riverfront project of Vadodara

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Ahmedabad | Monday, Jan 11 2016 IST
A group of leading citizens, comprising environmentalists, lawyers and town planners have raised objection to the Gujarat governments suo motu action of starting work on the construction of riverfront along the Vishwamitri river, which winds its way through Vadodara city without obtaining environment clearance from the Centre. The group, led by well-known environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, pointed out that the Union Environment Secretary had informed the group that the riverfront project would not commence before obtaining environment clearance, which would be preceded by environmental impact assessment, social impact assessment (SIA) and a public hearing.Yet, the group alleged, the state government had begun work on the riverfront project. In a letter to the Union Environment ministry, a copy of which has been sent to the Gujarat Chief Secretary and the Vadodara Municipal Commissioner, the group alleged that riverfront project completely ignores the important characteristics of the river, its wetlands, ravines, inter-connectivity with other water bodies, biodiversity, flora and fauna, flood and floodplains.Accusing the VMC of using public funds for allowing construction, the letter said little care has been taken to clear dumping activities in the river and its immediate environs, such as ravines.The first step in any effort for the revival of Vishwamitri River must acknowledge that a river is more than a channel carrying water; it is also a transporter of sediment; it consists of catchments, floodplains, river-bed, adjoining ravines, which along with the vegetation on both sides, is the rivers natural mechanism to retain the additional water, prevent floods and provide habitat for wildlife, the letter says.Originating in the historic Pavagadh hills, the river consists of a protected species, the Indian crocodile, which has been inhabiting and breeding in stretches of the Vishwamitri River for thousands of years, the letter said.The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, stipulates that injuring or destroying or taking any part of the body or any such animal or in the case of wild birds or reptiles, damaging the eggs or such birds or reptiles, or disturbing the eggs or nests of such birds or reptiles is a punishable offence, the letter pointed out.The activities carried out in the name of Vishwamitri Riverfront Development Project, especially proposed construction activities by using earthmovers, have the potential to destroy the natural ecosystem and habitat (its breeding grounds and nests) of the crocodile and other species."The group said already, the project has displaced more than 5,000 people living along the banks of the river, while more were expected to be displaced.UNI ND RJ AE 1647

-- (UNI) -- C-1-1-DL0098-532629.Xml

 
  LATEST COMMENTS (2)
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Abhishek (Vadodara)
I pray god atleast this time the project should not be cancelled, if few illiterate persons from the city backed by politicians oppose it. I request to the intellectuals of the city to support the project.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 3:35:14 PM | Reply
Abhishek (Vadodara)
I pray god atleast this time the project should not be cancelled, if few illiterate persons from the city backed by politicians oppose it. I request to the intellectuals of the city to support the project.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 3:35:14 PM | Reply
 
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