Press Release- Narendra Modi you need to reply to Permanent-Resident-Gujaratis (PRG)


modi

PRESS RELEASE

Mr. Narendrabhai Modi replied the questions raised by Non-Resident-Gujaratis (NRG) so we hope that Mr. Modi will also reply the questions of Permanent-Resident-Gujaratis (PRG). – Rohit Prajapati & Trupti Shah, Permanent-Resident-Gujaratis (PRG)

 

Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah

Permanent-Resident-Gujaratis (PRG)

37 Patrakar Colony,  Tandalja Road, Post: Akota,

Vadodara 390 020, Gujarat Phone/Fax No: +91-265-2320399,

Email: rohit.prajapati@gmail.comtrupti.vadodara@gmail.com

By Fax and Email

13 May 2013

To,

Shri Narendrabhai Modi

The Chief Minister of Gujarat

Government of Gujarat

1st Block, 5th Floor, New Sachivalaya,

Gandhinagar – 382 010.

Subject: You replied the questions raised by Non-Resident-Gujaratis (NRG) so we hope that you will also reply the questions of Permanent-Resident-Gujaratis (PRG).

Dear Sir,

We Permanent-Resident-Gujaratis (PRG) would like to raise certain issues for your response as we heard in the morning to your replies to the questions raise by the Non-Resident-Gujaratis (NRG). We are also sending the copy of the letter to the press so that you can also give your response to the press. These are not new; we have repeatedly raised these same issues in letters sent to your various departments and directly to you but we have yet to receive a proper reply. Your office always referred these letters to the so-called concerned department even when straight questions were addressed to you. We are ready for dialog in an open meeting with you. We are also prepared to attend a press conference to discuss these issues in the presence of press. We assure you that we are eager to engage in dialog with you, and are sending you our concerns so that the discussion may be thoughtful.

The then Finance Minister of Gujarat Mr. Vajubhai Vala on 11th January 2011 said while addressing a day-long pre-Vibrant Gujarat Summit seminar at Ahmedabad Management Association on ‘Industry Responsive Skill Development: The Emerging Trends in Gujarat’ that “A farmer engaged in agriculture on a five acre plot will earn enough only for his family. But if an industry is set up on that land, it will provide sustenance to families of 25-30 thousand workers.” [1] He asked local industrialists not to spoil workers by giving them more than what is rightfully due to them.[2] We want you to clarify your position on such statements.

(1)   Your book CONVENIENT ACTION – Gujarat’s Response To Challenges of Climate Change selectively presents information and data which are convenient to defend the ‘development model’ being pursued by the state. Even the Gujarat Ecology Commission report acknowledges the abysmal status of the environment in Gujarat. Why did you base your book on cherry-picked evidence that ignores the level of irreversible environmental degradation in the state of Gujarat? You have included in your book on page 132-133 a photo of the ‘Common Effluent Treatment Plant’ of Vapi, a facility which has not been able to fulfil the environmental norms prescribed by Gujarat Pollution Control Board since many years. While the photo is very large, there is no discussion about the functioning of CETP of Vapi. Your book completely ignores the failure of all major ‘industrial effluent treatment facilities’ of Gujarat. Why?

(2)   Gujarat is the only state where all registered chemical factories have been identified and categorized in various hazard classes, by Directorate Industrial Safety and Health. Considering their hazard potential,[3] Major Accident Hazard (MAH) factories are identified as per standard norms of related law. Gujarat state is having highest total 497 MAH Class factories which amounts 30 % of MAH factories in India. At present in Gujarat state, 3204 ‘B’ +’C’ class hazardous chemical factories are identified. Gujarat is having total 30,310 factories registered under the Factories Act ( employing directly 940567 Workers ) out of which total 4,559 (15%) are hazardous chemical factories.[4]

The Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA), it seems, doesn’t think that chemical industries have potential to cause chemical disasters in the state. Despite the Bhopal gas tragedy that killed thousands of people 25 years ago, the Gujarat government doesn’t seem to have learnt anything. Reply to our Right to Information Application about Chemical Emergency Plan of the Gujarat state the GSDMA stated in their replies that “A Chemical Emergency Plan is currently under consideration at the Disaster Management Authority.”[5] GSDMA further stated in their replies that “In reference to your above mentioned letter where information like numbers and names of the chemical industries, chemical used, final product, pollutant generated and its impact, also information about engineered landfill site – treatment storage and disposal facility, effluent treatment plants, common effluent treatment plants, etc. have been sought by you, we would like to inform you that the requested information is not available with this office.”[6]

Mr. CM is the chairperson of the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority and the same authority has to implement ‘The Gujarat State Disaster Management Act, 2003. The Act clearly states ‘(2) (h) “ disaster”  means an  actual or imminent  event, whether natural or otherwise  occurring in any part of the State which causes, or threatens to cause  all or any of  the following: (i)  widespread loss or damage to property, both immovable and movable; or (ii)  widespread loss of human life or injury or illness to human beings; or (iii)  damage or degradation of environment;’[7] but the web site of Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority states ‘The GSDMA has been constituted by the Government of Gujarat by the GAD’s Resolution dated 8th February 2001. The Authority has been created as a permanent arrangement to handle the natural calamities.’[8] What about environmental disasters? There is no ‘Comprehensive Chemical Emergency Plan’ with the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority. The Director, Health & Safety Department has an ‘Off Site Emergency Plan;’ but when I demanded a copy of it, I was told that it is secret.[9] A chemical emergency plan is not among the priorities in Gujarat, a chemical state with one of the country’s highest concentration of chemical industries. This is nothing but disastrous situation of Chemical State Gujarat.

4) We had also launched a complaint against residential & commercial complexes coming up in the vicinity of hazardous solid waste sites in Ahmedabad (Vatva & Naroda) in violation of GPCB notification on industrial hazardous solid waste and The Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989. These complexes were in violation of the CPCB & GPCB guideline and norms requiring a 500 meter safety distance from TSDFs & CETPs to residential complexes.

Instead of punishing the violating builders/contractors, The Forest & Environment Department and Urban Development and Urban Housing Department of Government of Gujarat decided, in the meeting dated 5-9-2011, to relax the required 500 meter safety radius to only 100 meters for the purpose of legalizing all illegal residential complexes which came after the notification. For future, it was decided that the 500 meter distance would be enforced.

The original guideline was issued with the intention of preventing risk to the health and safety of the people. The revision obviously looks at the profit margin of unscrupulous contractors, not the innocent residents who will suffer in future.

This post-facto regularization of illegal residential complexes sends a clear message that the safety norms can be bent to accommodate economic interests.   This is going to be a disastrous action on the part of the concerned authorities as far as the health and safety of the people is concerned.  It is clear that such a decision can only be due to immense pressure from the rich and powerful.

It cannot have been a suo motto decision. Instead of taking firm action and enforcing the regulations, these departments are succumbing to pressure from all sides from powerful rich people who want to legalize their illegal residential complexes.

Any post facto relaxation in the present environmental guidelines and norms is nothing but manipulation of present environmental norms to legalize illegal construction activities in order to favour powerful rich people who can pressurize the Government to act against the interests of ordinary people. We are opposed to the proposed dilution of norms, and have expressed this and written letters to you.  We would like to know your position on this issue, especially the acceptability of changing laws to accommodate violators.

(5)   As treatment facilities of Gujarat continue to be unable to meet the Gujarat Pollution Control Board‘s (GPCB) norms, a moratorium on opening new industries or expansion of existing industries was declared for the Ankleshwar area on 7-7-2007, and now the Ministry of Environment and Forests has extended till further order. Later on, on 13-1-2010 a moratorium was declared for other areas like Vatva, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Vapi, etc. The moratorium was subsequently lifted for the Vapi, Bhavnagar, and Junagadh area because of the pressure of the Gujarat Government. We objected to the lifting of moratorium for Vapi because treatment facilities of Vapi are still not able to meet the GPCB norms. Today the moratorium for Vatva, Ankleshwar is extended till further order. This has rightly stalled the projected huge investment in these areas of Gujarat. However, we believe that as responsible citizens, we are not and cannot be concerned only with the quantum of investment, but also with what is being invested, what the goal of the investment is, and how it affects the people in general. The Gujarat Government has perpetually opposed these moratoriums, despite obvious need.  Given that the industries are facing moratoriums from the Ministry of Environment and Forests for unabated cycle of pollution which continues to impact adversely all kinds of lives – human, agriculture and livestock, we are interested to know what you have to say regarding the industrial moratoriums in our state.

(6)   Why does your government fail to have land use policy? Why is an abundance of chemical industries allowed in fertile land, including the ‘vegetable basket’ of India like Padra Taluka of Vadodara District?

(7)   On 7-5-2004 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 657/1995, the Supreme Court ordered Gujarat State to provide clean drinking water to residents of villages near Vapi, Ankleshwar, and Effluent Channel Project of Vadodara, where the water supply was irrevocably damaged by industrial activities. Yet, there are ongoing actions contrary to what the Court has ordered. This order is waiting for its implementation. When will your government implement this order?

The quality of groundwater in Gujarat has reached at critical stage and yet it is being contaminated continuously. Orders for clean drinking water are passed based on the visit of the Supreme Court committee, and the committee is not able to visit all the affected villages of the Golden Corridor.  The groundwater of about 14 districts and about 74 talukas of Gujarat are critically affected by pollution. Even if we take the routine parameter like Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Total Hardness (TS), Dissolved Oxygen (DO), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), and some heavy metal like Cadmium, Copper, Lead, Mercury, Iron etc. Thus condition of the groundwater of Gujarat requires immediate attention as the rural population is deprived of the very basic need of safe drinking water and clean water for their animals and crops.

      Ahmedabad, Daskroi, Mehmedavad, Vadodara, Ankleshwar, Bardoli, Choryasi, Kamrej, Mangrol, Olpad, Palsana, Valod, Vyara, Navsari, Sanand, Dhoraji, Jetpur, Okha Mandal etc talukas are critically polluted. Amreli, Jambusar, Junagad, Mandvi, Kalol, Morvi, Upleta, Mahuva, Chorila, Dhangadhar, Limdi, Bansda, Umbergaon etc talukas are found moderately polluted.[10] If we talk about Vatva to Vapi – Golden Corridor it is clear that 70% of the groundwater is contaminated and it has reached the irreversible level. When you are going to act on this serious issue of contamination of ground water?

(8)   The air pollution situation is also alarming in the Golden Corridor of Gujarat. The Gujarat Pollution Control Board admits[11] in writing “5. PROBABLE POLLUTANTS: … (B) Air: HCL, SO2, NH3, H2S, NOx, PM2.5, PM10, VOCs, PAHs, PCBs, VINYL CHLORIDE. Note: Benzene, VOCs, PAHs, PCBs, vinyl chloride are not being monitored by GPCB, as no measuring facility is available with GPCB. This statement speaks for itself. In an advanced state like Gujarat, why do we not have facilities to take these basic measurements?  Moreover, when will you take actions to clean up the air quality, which has become some poor?

(9)   You are the chairman of the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority and the same authority has to implement ‘The Gujarat State Disaster Management Act, 2003. The Act clearly states ‘(2) (h) “ disaster”  means an  actual or imminent  event, whether natural or otherwise  occurring in any part of the State which causes, or threatens to cause  all or any of  the following: (i)  widespread loss or damage to property, both immovable and movable; or (ii)  widespread loss of human life or injury or illness to human beings; or (iii)  damage or degradation of environment;’[12] but the web site of Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority states ‘The GSDMA has been constituted by the Government of Gujarat by the GAD’s Resolution dated 8th February 2001. The Authority has been created as a permanent arrangement to handle the natural calamities.’[13] What about environmental disasters? There is no ‘Comprehensive Chemical Emergency Plan’ with the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority. The Director, Health & Safety Department has an ‘Off Site Emergency Plan;’ but when we demanded a copy of it, we were told that it is secret. Kindly clarify your position on the crucial issue of a disaster management plan and its transparency.

(10)   A direct outcome of our persistent efforts since 1994 has been forcing GPCB / Government to act against Hema Chemicals of Vadodara which was responsible for illegal dumping of hazardous chromium waste in Gorwa area of Vadodara. As per the direction of the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee the company has been ordered in year 2004 to pay Rs. 17 Crores as first instalment towards remediation of the site. Why has your government failed to remove the hazardous waste dumped by Hema Chemicals, recover the Rs 17 Crores fines from Hema Chemicals as per the direction of Supreme Court?

(11)   In Gujarat the Final Effluent Treatment Plant (FETP) of Ankleshwar which was inaugurated by you continues to be unable to meet the Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s norms.  The Project is designed to divert industrial pollution from Amla Khadi and the Narmada River.  The FETP is operated by Bharuch Eco Aqua Infrastructure Ltd, (now known as ‘Narmada Clean Tech Ltd.’). The FETP was built by the sweat of tax payers.  Out of a total project cost of Rs 131.43 Crores, the industries paid only Rs 21.75 Crores (about 17%); the rest of the tab (Rs 109 Crores) was spent by the Central Government, Gujarat Government, and Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) – all of which ultimately draw from public money.  It is a familiar story: the profits are distributed privately, but the institutional costs and environmental burden are borne by another segment of the population. Why did you inaugurate the FETP pipeline project despite its non-compliance with the GPCB norms? Why do you endorse the public paying when industries pollute?

(12)   Which law allows the effluent that does not meet Gujarat Pollution Control Board norms to be discharged from Tadgam Sarigam Pipeline, from FETP, Ankleshwar, ECP, Vadodara, CETPs of Ahmedabad? We would like you to clarify your position on the issue of such an open and blunt disregard of environment laws.

(13)   The Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 is violated across the state. Why Gujarat Pollution Control Board has failed to implement this law?

(14)   As per the data provided by ‘The Director Industrial Safety and Health, Government of Gujarat’, 30.33 % of industries are closed in Gujarat as per Government of Gujarat’s own figures dated 1 January 2011. Why figures are not available up to 1 January 2013 on the website? Government of Gujarat is silent about the workers who must have lost their employment because of closure of these industries.

Office wise Factories – Gujarat State – AS on 01/01/2011

 

SR. NO

OFFICE

WORKING FACTORIES

CLOSED FACTORIES

TOTAL FACTORIES

1

Ahmedabad

6344

2998

9342

2

Gandhinagar

696

234

930

3

Mehsana

1859

754

2613

4

Nadiad

393

273

666

5

Anand

582

431

1013

6

Baroda

2747

989

3736

7

Godhra

397

372

769

8

Bharuch

1608

328

1936

9

Navsari

412

303

715

10

Valsad

2465

755

3220

11

Surendranagar

429

430

859

12

Bhavnagar

237

373

610

13

Alang

113

80

193

14

Rajkot

2533

752

3285

15

Jamnagar

371

450

821

16

Junagadh

611

110

721

17

Adipur

429

128

557

18

Surat

2980

1213

4193

Total

25206

10973

36179

 

Source: Director Industrial Safety and Health, Government of Gujarat website http://labourandemployment.gov.in/dish/statistics/Factories/office_wise.htm

 

(15) Let us also looks at the Human Development Index of Gujarat State as Government of Gujarat is making very toll claims. Gujarat is no. 11 (two-digit figure) in Human Development Index. Why?

 

List of Indian states and territories by Human Development Index, 2011

Rank

State/Union Territory

HDI (2011)

High human development

 
1 Kerala 0.790
2 Delhi 0.750
3 Himachal Pradesh 0.652
4 Goa 0.617
5 Punjab 0.605
6 North eastern India (excluding Assam) 0.573
7 Maharashtra 0.572
8 Tamil Nadu 0.570
9 Haryana 0.552
10 Jammu and Kashmir 0.529
11 Gujarat 0.527
12 Karnataka 0.519
13 West Bengal 0.492
14 Uttarakhand 0.490
15 Andhra Pradesh 0.473
  India (national average) 0.467
16 Assam 0.444
17 Rajasthan 0.434
18 Uttar Pradesh 0.380
19 Jharkhand 0.376
20 Madhya Pradesh 0.375
21 Bihar 0.367
22 Odisha 0.362
23 Chattisgarh 0.358

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_states_and_territories_by_Human_Development_Index

There is little to debate regarding the factual basis underlying our concerns.  We have also made our perspective clear: the environment and the well-being of people in general should be treated with more respect than industrial/profit-making interests.  By writing this letter, we are soliciting your stance on these issues in writing. In the interest of democracy and transparency, we feel we are entitled to a response from you.

 

Rohit Prajapati                                     Trupti Shah

[Rohit Prajapati]                                  [Trupti Shah]


[1] Gobbling farm land for industry a fair game: Minister, Indian Express, 12th January 2011.

[2] Gobbling farm land for industry a fair game: Minister, Indian Express, 12th January 2011.

[5] Reply by GSDMA to Rohit Prajapati dated 10-8-2007

[6] Reply by GSDMA to Rohit Prajapati dated 23-8-2007

[9] Reply by Director, Health & Safety Department, Vadodara, to Rohit Prajapati, dated 9-9-2010

 

[10] State Environmental Action Programme – Industrial Pollution Phase III – Sectoral Report, Volume – I, Gujarat Ecology Commission, April 2002

[11] Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Abatement Action Plan – Vapi Industrial Cluster – Gujarat, GPCB, Gandhinagar 2010

_________________________________
Rohit Prajapati / Trupti Shah
37, Patrakar Colony, Tandalja Road,
Post-Akota, Vadodara – 390 020
GUJARAT, INDIA
Phone No. (O) + 91 – 265 – 2320399
Email No: rohit.prajapati@gmail.com
_______________________________________________________________

Letter to Gujarat CM #Narendramodi on #SoniaGandhi #mustread


  • Letter to the Chief Minister of Gujarat by Social Activist Trupti Shah
  • Government of India should not hide the information about personal foreign trip expenses incurred by Central Government if any for Ms. Sonia Gandhi.

  • Information regarding travelling expenses of the Chief Minister of Gujarat and State Ministers during “Women Empowerment Sammelans” of 2007 under sought vide RTI application dated 18-07-2007 not provided and my Complaint No. 74/2008-2009 is pending before the Chief Information Commissioner of

    English: Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Guja...

    English: Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, India, speaks during the welcome lunch at the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit 2008 in New Delhi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Gujarat.

Dr. Trupti Shah,
37 Patrakar Colony,
Tandalja Road, Post: Akota,
Vadodara 390 020, Gujarat
Phone/Fax No: +91-265-2320399,
Email: trupti.vadodara@gmail.com
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

By Email & FAX
2 October 2012

To,
Shri Narendrabhai Modi
The Chief Minister of Gujarat
Government of Gujarat
1st Block, 5th Floor, New Sachivalaya,
Gandhinagar – 382 010.

Subject: Government of India should not hide the information about the personal foreign trip expenses if any for Ms. Sonia Gandhi incurred by Central Government. Information regarding travelling expenses of the Chief Minister of Gujarat and State Ministers during “Women Empowerment Sammelans” of 2007 under sought vide RTI application dated 18-07-2007 not provided and my Complaint No. 74/2008-2009 is pending before the Chief Information Commissioner of Gujarat.

Dear Mr. Modi,

I agree with you that Government of India should not hide the information about personal foreign trip expenses incurred by Central Government if any for Ms. Sonia Gandhi. I believe you have no choice but to agree with me that this is equally applicable to you and the Government of Gujarat also.

An RTI application dated 18-07-2007 was filed by me to your office asking the details about expenses of Government of Gujarat for organizing “Women’s Empowerment Sammelans” in 27 places of Gujarat, just before 2007 State Assembly election. Till today I have not received the information about travelling expenses incurred by you and other ministers for travelling to 27 places for these sammelans.

Even after my repeated letters asking for the details about travelling expenses made by you, the Chief Minister and the other Ministers, it was practically denied to me by forwarding these letters not only from one department to another but also several times between the departments. My RTI application was not only forwarded to all the districts but even up to the block level in some cases.

At last I got the letter dated 01-11-2007 by General Administrative Department (GAD) which provided list of 27 places visited by you, the Chief Minister for “Women’s Empowerment Sammelans” between 10-03-2007 to 20-09-2007 but about travelling expenses the letter states that “As per the information provided by the office of the honorable Chief Minister, honorable Chief Minister do not mention the travelling expenses, so as far as travelling expense of the Chief Minister is concern, considered that as Nil.”

This was ridiculous and unbelievable as it is known that you have travelled to most of these places by helicopter.

The GAD’s letter dated 01-11-2007 was replied by me vide letter dated 20-11-2007 stating that since the list mentions the 27 places the Chief Minister had visited it follows that the expenditure on your travel  to these 27 places would have been borne either by some department of the Government of Gujarat and/or sponsored by some private parties and therefore it is incumbent upon you to provide me the names of persons/agencies who had spent/sponsored the travelling expenses and details of the expenses made by them. Then, since there was no response from your General Administrative Department, a reminder dated 18-01-2008 was sent to the department and your office, the CMO. Further reminder dated 17-04-2008 was sent to the General Administrative Department and the Chief Minister office. Your office always forwarded my all letters to other departments and surprisingly kept silence on my RTI application.

As a result of the silence of your office, I was forced to file a complaint under section 18(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 before the Chief Information Commissioner of Gujarat. On 03-05-2008 Complaint No. 74/2008-2009 was filed by me requesting the concerned authorities to provide me the information about the travelling expenses made by you, the Chief Minister and other Ministers who participated in the Sammelans. To date, I have not been provided this information.

In the last hearing dated 26-09-2012 of my Complaint No. 74/2008-2009, the Chief Information Commission orally directed the General Administrative Department (GAD) to collect the information demanded by me from the concerned departments and pass on this information to me before next hearing which may take place in October 2012. During the discussion of the hearing of the case the concerned officer of General Administrative Department (GAD) expressed helplessness by stating that such information is not available with them because though they have requested the office of the Chief Minister and office of the other Ministers for the information, it has not been provided to them. However, they stated that they will once again try to collect this information if available. Looking at discussion before the Chief Information Commissioner and after the hearing of case outside the office, I have a strong feeling that GAD will not be able to collect and send the information to me if the Chief Minister office does not co-operate.

Let me remind you the background of my RTI application as this was not asked just for curiosity by me. These sammelans were organized by you spending crores of rupees in one day programmes in the name of ‘Women’s Empowerment’ when the demand by the women of Gujarat for providing implementation machinery for the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and the PCPNDT Act 1994 was denied by your Government in the name of lack of funds. Till today there are not enough full time ‘Protection Officers’ with effective infrastructure to implement these laws. Yet, the State Government was able to raise and spend more than 5 crores rupees on one day Sammelans across the state. I would also like to remind you that the partial information that I have gathered from various departments through my above mentioned RTI, this 5+ crores does not include the travelling expenses by you, the Chief Minister and other Ministers.

You are conveniently talking about the delay of Central Government for providing the information about travelling expenses for personal foreign trips of Ms. Sonia Gandhi that are incurred by the Central Government, if any. I agree that Central Government should not hide the information. The same should be applicable to you also. Please note, in your case the information was asked in the year 2007 and  5 years have elapsed and till today information about travelling expenses to 27 places for the Government’s specially announced “Women’s Empowerment Sammelans” by you, the Chief Minister and other Minister is not provided to me.

In this context I would also like to mention that no information has been provided to me regarding the expenses incurred by you and your ministers for the Government program called ‘Sadbhavana Mission’ dated 17-18-19 September 2011 for which an RTI application has been filed by me and fellow activist Rohit Prajapati. Since information was not provided to us, we were forced to file a complaint on 20-12-2011 and now our Complaint No. 610/2011-2012 is pending for hearing because of lack of staff and number of information commissioners in the state.

I hope that at least now you will direct your office to collect the information from the concerned Government Departments and provide to me after 5 years, in response to my RTI Application dated 18-07-2007.

Expecting positive response.

                                    Trupti Shah
                        [Dr. Trupti Shah]
Social Activist of Gujarat

Letter to the Chief Minister of Gujarat Mr. Narendra Modi on Malnutrition


Rohit Prajapati, Dr. Trupti Shah, and Dr. Nandini Manjrekar
C/o 37 Patrakar Colony,
Tandalja Road, Post: Akota,
Vadodara 390 020, Gujarat
Phone/Fax No: +91-265-2320399
Email: rohit.prajapati@gmail.comtrupti.vadodara@gmail.comnandini.manjrekar@gmail.com
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
By Fax and Email
30 August 2012

To,
Shri Narendrabhai Modi
The Chief Minister of Gujarat
Government of Gujarat
1st Block, 5th Floor, New Sachivalaya,
Gandhinagar – 382 010.

Subject: Malnutrition in Gujarat: Your statement to the Wall Street Journal.

Dear Shri Modi,

In an interview to the Wall Street Journal you, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, made a statement on the issue of malnutrition in the state that “Gujarat is by and large a vegetarian state. And secondly, Gujarat is also a middle-class state. The middle-class is more beauty conscious than health conscious that is a challenge. If a mother tells her daughter to have milk, they’ll have a fight. She’ll tell her mother, ‘I won’t drink milk. I’ll get fat’.”

We would like to know whether this statement was based on any research study that examined whether malnutrition in Gujarat is related to lifestyle issues. We ask you to share the findings of this study with the people of Gujarat since available data portrays a grim scenario. The Human Development Report of 2011 indicates that  Gujarat is the worst among the high per-capita states in the country in fighting malnutrition, even lower than the ‘less developed’ states of Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam. 44.6% of children in Gujarat below the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition, 41% are underweight, and nearly 70% are anaemic. More than half the women in Gujarat (55%) also suffer from anaemia.

We hope that you are making such a statement based on some study done either by you or by your government or by any reputed institute or scholars. We request you to share the copy of such study because we are absolutely in disagreement with you on this issue.

Malnutrition is directly related to issues of livelihood and well-being, which are the foremost indicators of development, which you as Chief Minister take credit for having spearheaded in the state of Gujarat. You and your government has to take responsibility for the factors that have led to these appalling statistics —  where almost half the children do not even have access to milk — through pursuing a development model in aggressive promotion of privatisation and consequent immiseration of the poor. It is shocking that you should attribute this to the state being largely ‘middle-class’ and vegetarian and obsession with body image among girls. These statements are not only completely lacking in fact but also reflects an amazing callousness and trivialisation of the real issues of the people in the state you govern, especially women and girls, for whom access to livelihoods, education, healthcare and survival itself is a matter of everyday struggle.

In the absence of any substantive data that indicates otherwise, it is morally incumbent on you as Chief Minister, to apologise to the people, and especially women and girls of the state, for the disrespect you have shown them by making these trivial statements on such a grave issue.

Rohit Prajapati
[ROHIT PRAJAPATI]

Trupti Shah
[Dr. TRUPTI SHAH]

Nandini Manjrekar
[Dr. NANDINI MANJREKAR]

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