The Issue of Environmental Abuse in India
A Case Study of Lote Parshuram MIDC – Chiplun, Maharashtra
Environmental degradation is one of the major global concerns these days. Billions and Millions are invested each year to develop a sustainable world. The government, Corporates and Ngo’s are taking preventive measures to keep a check on environmental damages but still at some places efforts seem to be dishonest and vitiating.
In this case study, Corporate Social Irresponsibility (CSI) is highlighted in the industrial area of Lote Parshuram MIDC, Chiplun area of Maharashtra which has been responsible for causing environmental abuse in the nearby areas.
The case study is done by the Associate Professors of Commerce, Maharashtra College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Mumbai who raised a concern over government policies in controlling environmental changes and the role of corporate responsibility, unproductive in implementing its part towards sustainable development in the Lote Parshuram.
Corporate Social Irresponsibility is rampant over the world. Indian government and corporates are equal culprits in causing environmental abuse. Incidents like Bhopal Gas Tragedy, disappearance of tigers from Panna Tiger Reserve, pollution of sea coast from Valsad to Daman with chemicals and land acquisition for SEZ has already highlighted CSI in India. CSI has become a whitewash in the name of CSR that shows how businesses are meeting their obligations to society. The corrupt system, Casual Approach by the Govt. machinery and socially irresponsible corporations has affected the standards of CSR.The paid advertisements are used to hide environmental abuse. CSI needs to be considered as an eminent issue among us.
One of the major reasons of Environmental Damage in Lote Parshuram MIDC, Chiplun area of Maharashtra is the setting of an industrial zone in this Eco sensitive area which has affected the lives of many people. The major rationale behind MIDC (Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation) locating here was the creek for letting out treated effluent water whose consequences are multidimensional.
It was found that quarter of the farmers in Lote village became landless. Out of 773 seeking employment only 92 people (11.9%) got jobs. Only 25 among these were permanent employees, the remaining 67 work as just contract labourers.
The operation which began in the 1980s with around 200 chemical units in the year 2002 was only left with 70 units in business, the rest were closed down and as a result the land occupied by them now lies unused.
The results around this area are hazardous, causing severe effects on the lives of people as the soil in this area is no more fertile, and it carries chemicals. The Solid toxic sludge from industries is mixed with soil and dumped in the ghat areas, has caused toxicity in ground water. Cattle breeding have been affected due to polluted water and people are reported with skin diseases, respiratory diseases and lung infections.
Furthermore, there is a fall in yield of paddy crops, Alphonso mangoes and other fruits. The water is definitely contaminated. The flora and fauna is totally disturbed as death of fishes and other marine life. Disappearance of birds, otters, dolphins, crocodiles, destruction of reeds and mangroves has been reported.
Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel on Lote MIDC
The Ministry of Environment & Forests Government of India constituted a Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) in 2010:
Chairman Prof. Madhav Gadgil; said “Regarding chemical industry MIDC at Lote near Chiplun,It was revealed that the CETP cannot handle the quantity of effluent it is receiving, and its functioning is highly defective. We saw large overflows of untreated waste from the plant going into streams serving Kotavale village. With all these persistent and un-rectified problems, it wasinformed by an MIDC officer that they are planning to setup a new Petro Chemical MIDC area nearby existing on 550Ha.”
Suggestions for changing the current scenario
A committee, including representatives of the affected, to be formed and work together to check pollution.
Communities need to develop their capacities and work collectively and coherently to properly document their problems and expectations.
Relinquishing lands for common use and those unnecessarily acquired by the MIDC.
Compensation for the landless peoplewho lost their livelihood due to industry – the fisher folk and shepherds.
Strengthening the public health delivery system by upgrading health centers, developing a well-equipped hospital capable of handling industrial emergencies.
Generation of employment in industry and in activities supplying industrial needs.
A survey to be conducted by the government in association with the gram sabhas to find solutions to the problems of water for drinking and other uses like agriculture, pollution of air and water, and effects of pollution on livelihoods.
NGO’s such as Parivartan should play an important role as un-elected representative of people and speak on their behalf.
Both in the long and short term, it will be beneficial if industry takes seriously its dual role as private capital rooted to short term profits and as social capital is rooted in the long term interests of capital.
• The concept of industry citizenship should become an inherent part of governance within industry.
• The government and its officials need to realize their role and chart a course of coexistence, beneficial both to the community and industry.
• To counter regional imbalances in development, it is appropriate to focus development of any region on its own inherent strengths and not sacrifice these to meet requirements of other regions.
According to Amartya Sen, ‘Development is not merely growth in GDP or per capita incomes, it is ‘A process of expanding real freedoms that people enjoy’.
Amartya Sen defines these freedoms as:
Access to adequate food, clean water, unpolluted air, shelter, education, healthcare, and gainful employment.
And above all development shouldlead to an enhanced capacity to engage in social, political and economic decision making.”
…the fight must go on.
Development should be decided upon by experts, government officials and the people of that region together.
People will have to empower themselves to bring change.
The struggle is similar to the gas affected victims of Bhopal.
At the end of the bargain they may just get peanuts.
But the struggle cannot be given up, for the sake of the future generation the fight must go on.
People wish to see the natural heritage protected.
It is they who should be empowered to do so.
The Associate Professors of Commerce, Maharashtra College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Mumbai
• Dr. Sirajuddin H. M. Chougle,
• Dr. Abdul Majid Ansari,
• Dr. Mohammed Moghees, HOD