Mr. Hardik Shah, Member Secretary, GPCB
Mr. Rishikesh Mehta, Advocate
Mr. Bhushan Oza, Senior Advocate
Mr. Shailendra Jadeja, Petitioner NGT
Ms. Shaileja Pillia, Advocate
The seminar was organized by Gujarat Social Watch on the “Assessment of National Green Tribunal, Western Bench (Pune)" on 3rd June 2014. Around 95 people from all cross-sections of the society including Academicians, Advocates, Activists, Senior Citizens, Government Officers, Environment consultants, Industrialists, and Petitoners participated in the seminar. Ms. Falguni Joshi welcomed all the guests and gave a brief introduction about the National Green Tribunal. Then, Mr. Gagan Sethi, President of Janvikas while talking about rapid industrialization in Gujarat, said that irresponsible development can adversely affect environment. He also said that only bigger issues go to the NGT, while pollution issues of small villages do not to NGT because of lack of awareness. He stressed on the need of awareness regarding environment issues and newly formed National Green Tribunal.
Then Gangan Sethi, Indukumar Jani (well-known activist and Editor of NayaMarg), Gautam Thakkar (General Secretary of PUCL), Binoy Acharyav (Managing Trustee, Unnati) along with Mahesh Pandya (co-ordinator of Guajrat Social Watch) and Ajay Kumar (Researcher, National Social Watch) released the Report.
Hardik Shah, Member Secretary, GPCB, shared his views and experiences with NGT and said that NGT has contributed to speedy and fair trial for environment cases. He said that with faster remedy and technical expertise, NGT has punished even government officials and organizations. Thereafter, Mr. Mahesh Pandya gave presentation on analysis done on NGT, Pune bench in which he also suggested some of the change that needs to be done in the act itself so that NGT can serve its purpose efficiently.
Ajay Kumar Ranjan, Research Officer from National Social Watch presented the power point presentation on National Social Watch.
The petitioner of the one of the NGT case, Mr. Shailendra Jadeja was invited on stage who shared his experience with NGT and the problems he faced during his case. Then, Mr. Bhushan Oza (Senior Advocate, Gujarat High Court) was invited on the podium to share his views and he gave his expert views about NGT and said that there is a need to set up a bench in Gujarat so that more and more cases can knock the doors of NGT from Gujarat. He also pinpointed some of the problems like language barrier, distance factor etc which needs to be addressed. Mr. Rishikesh Mehta who is also a senior advocate said also added his views and said that that even environmental experts or consultants, because of their technical expertise should be allowed to appear before the NGT. Ms. Shaileja Pillai, Advocate expressed her concern that speedy disposal should not affect the quality of judgment.
Thereafter, the seminar was open to all for discussion. Finally, Mr. Mahesh Pandya proposed vote of thanks to all the participants.
Local as well as National Media covered various glimpse of the event. Navgujarat Times, Abhiyan, Chitralekha, DNA, Divyabhaskar, Times of India and Indian Express reported the event and also electronic Media like GSTV and Doordarshan covered the event.
Gujarat Social Watch