RTI shows up reality of Gujarat's governmental environment protection

From the Indian Express as communicated by Rohit Prajapati AND Trupti Shah  in Vadodara
Activist asked if CM knew that Ankleshwar FETP was non-compliant with GPCB norms before its inauguration, Indian Express - 22nd May 2010

AN RTI query by a city activist has left the Chief Minister's Office in a tizzy as the officials could not ascertain if the CMO was aware that the Ankleshwar effluent treatment plant was not compliant with GPCB norms. The Final Effluent Treatment Plant (FETP) was inaugurated on 24 January, 2007, by Chief Minister Narendra Modi. In a reply, the CMO said no such information is available, as the records for 2007 have been destroyed.

Rohit Prajapati had filed an RTI query on April 23 seeking information on grounds under which Modi inaugurated a 52.97-km long pipeline for Bharuch Eco Aqua Infrastructure Limited (BEAIL)’s FETP. Prajapati cited a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report, which showed that GPCB (Gujarat Pollution
Control Board) norms were violated since 2004.

In September last year, Prajapati had written to the CMO on this, and the latter had responded by directing the matter to the Forests and Environment Department. Later, on April 19, GPCB Member Secretary R G Shah replied to Prajapati, admitting that there were problems with the FETP.

He also said that no new expansion would happen.

But Prajapati says it is still  not clear if Modi knew about this non-compliance factor.  “On April 23, after sending an open letter to the CMO, I filed an RTI with the same. It was important because it creates a bad impression about the Chief Minister’s awareness ­ that he inaugurated the pipeline despite its non-compliance,” Prajapati added .

The CMO said in its reply that the records dated before January 24, 2007, but since the state government was
dissolved in December that year due to the Assembly elections, working records were disposed off.

When The Indian Express contacted the CMO, Officer on Special Duty J P Modha did not comment on the issue, saying that RTI details were not available.