Jitendra Dave, DNA | Last Modified - May 11, 2012, 03:33 AM IST
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has sought advice from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for policy integration with reference to residential and commercial development around hazardous waste landfill sites. However, it has mentioned that there is no legal framework under Urban Development Department (UDD) for creating buffer zone around such sites as per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Meanwhile, environment activists and operators of treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDF) of hazardous waste termed it as violation of norms.
In a letter to MoEF on May 5, the GPCB has stated that it requires coordination and integration of various departments of the state government with regard to building construction projects in proximity of the TSDF sites. On September 5, 2011, a meeting was convened by state government’s environment and forests department where the UDD had represented that there is no legal framework for creating buffer zone around TSDF in Ahmedabad, said GPCB. It also added that the minutes of the meeting were self-explanatory in nature.
It is surprising that the GPCB has referred to only partial opinion expressed by the UDD. In the meeting, principal secretary, UDD, IP Gautam had also stated that 500-metre zone around such sites should be reserved for plantation.
On the other hand, environment activists and operators of TSDF sites in Ahmedabad have termed this move as the state government’s reluctant approach for creating buffer zone around hazardous waste landfill sites.
Rohit Prajapati, an environment activist, said that the Government of Gujarat cannot modify the present CPCB guideline for post-facto regularisation of illegal residential complexes.
“It is clear that such a decision can only be due to immense pressure from the rich and powerful,” said Prajapati.
Similarly, Bipin Patel, former chairman of The Green Environment Society, said that the state government can strengthen the rules formed by central government but cannot give relaxation. Prajapati also said that such a decision cannot be taken suo motu.