Over a thousand years ago, Parsis landed on the shores of Sanjan on the Gujarat coast, seeking shelter and were welcomed by the local raja who allowed them to settle on his land. The descendants of these migrants are now paying back that debt by helping local resP6-2.TIM environmental pollution on the coastline.
Several city Parsis are now investing their time and money in helping the villagers of Tadgam, which is located near Sanjan, fight the increasing pollution of the beaches and land. This is caused by a pipeline which dumps untreated industrial waste into the sea.
Shorab Canteenwalla, a Mumbai-based pilot who has a farm house at Tadgam, says he was shocked at the slow degradation of the area over the past decade."My father owned a house at Tadgam and I used to go there on weekends. We saw the environmental damage and decided to help the local villagers. We have been talking to Parsis in Mumbai and increasing numbers are keen on helping us fight to restore the area to its earlier state.”
An increasing number of city Parsis in the past 50 years have been returning to buy holiday homes and flats in Sanjan and Tadgam as they are emotionally attached to the areas.
Parizad Ghosh nee Davar who owns a house in the area says,"Sanjan and the area around it is revered by Parsis. Watching it being degraded by industrial effluents, which are seeping into the soil and destroying fish in the sea made us sit up and taken notice.”
Upset at the way the coastline in Sanjan was being polluted, member of the National Minorities Commission, Mehroo Bengalee, the former vice-chancellor of Mumbai University, has written to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, asking him to intervene in the matter. Bengalee wants the CM to tell owners of industries to destroy the chemical waste, instead of allowing them to pollute the sea.
Xerxes Buhariawalla and Dinaz Banaji are also spreading the word about the fight to save the coastline by contacting prominent Parsis in Mumbai."The catch is falling because of the pollution. So local fishermen are forced to migrate to other townships like Veraval and Cambay to obtain jobs and keep their home fires burning,” said Buhariwalla. Canteenwalla points out that two Parsi lawyers in Ahmedabad have volunteered to fight their cases.
A visit to the site reveals the extent of pollution. A large pipeline starting from an industrial estate in Tadgam is laid 14 km on to Tadgam beach. Fishermen in the area are complaining about their catch reducing over the years.
The sarpanch of Nargol(near Sanjan), Yatin Bhandari says they need help from people and organisations to battle the menace that is ravaging their beaches and countryside.
Original article here.