17 January, 2021

Where The Black Waters Part

Vapi industrial corridor is a ‘shining’ example of Modi’s Vibrant Gujarat. Tell that to the stinking, cancer-ridden nearby villages.

Amit Haralkar
Where The Black Waters Part

“You’ll be able to smell it,” is the constant refrain when we ask for directions to Vapi, an industrial town sitting on the southern end of the country’s Golden Corridor, a 400-km industrial belt in Gujarat. To reach this city in Valsad district, we travel on National Highway 8 which stretches from Mumbai to Surat. The highway itself is a joy to drive on, see­ming to deliver the promise of Narendra Modi’s ‘Vibrant Gujarat’. But as Vapi app­roaches, more than the highway signboards marking distances, it’s the afore-mentioned smell, a pungent odour, that lets us know we are nearing our destination.

The approach to the city is marked with chimneys from the 1,048 registered industrial units jutting into the skyline. The town is grey and smoky, engulfed in haze. In the distance, from the vantage point of the elevated corridor, we can spot black smoke emitting from the factories dotting the vast Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) area that half of Vapi inhabits.

As the BJP’s prime ministerial...



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