08 Sep

Seaplane Tourism in Shetrunji River : Crippling Sanctity and Ecology

The government is planning to start seaplane services in the Shetrunji River. Here's why it's bad news, especially for Jains.

shetrunji river-1


Shetrunji River - not just a water body, but a tranquil, living embodiment alongside the Pious Tirth of Palitana. A place of great ecological, and greater religious & cultural significance.

So, what’s brewing in Gujarat and in the near future of the Holy Shetrunji Dam, adjacent to the most Holiest site of Jains?

This is what is - The government has approved the proposal to sign MoU for building four aerodromes in the state for seaplane service. They are expected to come up at the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad, Sardar Sarovar dam at Kevadia in Narmada district, Dhaori dam in Mehsana district and The Shetrunji dam at Palitana in Bhavnagar district. 

'What’s a water aerodrome', wonder?

A water aerodrome or seaplane base is an area of open water used by seaplanes, floatplanes and amphibious aircraft for landing and taking off. Looks something like this.

Gujarat Assembly Election 2017: PM Modi Flies On Seaplane In Gujarat, "Good Passenger", Says Pilot

So basically, the Shetrunji river, which holds great spiritual and cultural significance for Jains and an otherwise intrinsic ecological value, will be used as a runway, disposal ground of pollutants, and a tourist spot. Private and government players in seaplanes will use (or misuse?) the Holy Shetrunji Dam as they please.

The Government of Gujarat will assist the Airports Authority of India(AAI) to prepare the masterplan. Water National Hydrographic Office has conducted the survey for the water Aerodrome site. AAI will be the implementing authority. It has sought the site clearances for the aerodromes from the steering committees concerned, and will operate and maintain the water aerodromes, also provide water, electricity and other facilities.

The project needs long open water bodies for seaplanes or amphibian planes’ take-off and landing. Gujarat government will provide 1 to 2.5 acre of land near the water bodies as per the need to build terminals to park the planes.

Reasons, why this development should be opposed, are:-
- Since Shetrunji River is ecologically too fragile, it should be protected as a natural habitat.
- Oil spills, emissions, noise pollution etc. due to the operation of aircraft will negatively impact the ecology and biodiversity of Shetrunji river.
- The sound pollution generated by aircraft during landing and take-off will dissuade migratory birds from coming and affect the nearly threatened species.
- Since Shetrunji River holds great significance for Jains, the project will hurt the religious sentiments of Jains and also negatively impact the surrounding area.
- Since Palitana where Shetrunji River is located, is already well-connected by road and railways, seaplanes having limited passenger carrying capacity may not add significantly to tourism, and not at all by Jains.
- Jain Community was not approached before commencing this project and their opinions weren't noted for their only river of great faith.


So what makes the recent development so wrong? Here are the 3 undeniable reasons why.

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1. ECOLOGY -Shetrunji Dam supports the water supply of the entire adjoining area and farmlands along its course. The arrival of seaplanes guarantees pollution of the river by the disposal of petrochemicals and other maintenance requirements of the planes. It poses a great risk to the ecosystems thriving in and on the water body, including humans. The river flows through Saurashtra which also is home to Asiatic lions and other wildlife species. It is the main source of water for farmers in the tableland of Saurashtra. The seaplane operations will involve water bodies and the amount of the area required for the operations is massive as there needs to be a water strip approximately 2000-2500 feet (radius of 1 sq km). It means that expanses of the water body will be made off-limits for birds which can pose a threat to the safety of the landing and take-off of the plane. The noise created during the operations will also affect the visitation of migratory birds. An area covering a radius of one kilometre is cordoned off for landing and take-off of the
plane. The Dam is ideal breeding and resting grounds for migratory birds. A recent survey of 2013 finds that the dam is home to 18 species of birds which includes, resident birds, migratory birds and 2 are near-threatened species under Red List category of IUCN 2013. The sound of roaring engines of planes will destroy the peace, tranquillity and habitat of these birds. Also, the birds pose a threat of crashing with the planes and causing accidents. The disposal of oil and other pollutants into the dam will destroy the thriving ecosystems forever.

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2. CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS FACTORS - Palitana is situated near the river, serving as the base town for the hills of Shatrunjaya upon which are the Palitana temples, the most important place of worship for Jains. A group of Derasars are located at the banks of the river near to the Shatrunjaya hills. Since Palitana is the holiest site of Jains, Jains expect no disturbance during their time of worship. The pure water of the Shetrunji river is used for religious ceremonial activities on Palitana. No Jain would want to allow the pollution of the river. The roaring engines and turbulence of Seaplanes hovering above and around the temple can create a lot of unwanted noise pollution and disturbance during Jains worship. Also, an aerial vehicle hovering at such low heights and so near the holy site of Jains possess a grave risk of unwanted accidents.


3. ECONOMICAL VIABILITY - The location of Shetrunji Dam is near to no major tourist destination except for the Holiest religious site of Jains. So, the only or majority possible consumers of the seaplane service are visioned to be the richest Indian Community, the Jains. However, it’s a delusion to think of them using the seaplane service, for many reasons. Shetrunji Dam is adjacent to the holiest site of Jains, Palitana. Jains have been using the pure water of the dam for their religious activities. Jains would never support the pollution and destruction of their only religiously significant water body. A nod to seaplanes service is a butcher of the ecosystems thriving in and around the water body. Jains' central principle being non-violence does not allow the killing of sentient beings for self convenience. They would never support or use the seaplane services which would harm any life. Apart from that, serious thought must be given to whether such juvenile projects should be imposed on the people, in the name of promotion of tourism. Millions of people visit Palitana as pilgrims in a year, of which few 100's hardly would be foreigners or tourists. In what way can a plane carrying Fourteen tourists boost tourist activities, is a question. Moreover, a vast majority of pilgrims are budget tourists, who come to Palitana for worship and spiritual activities, and they can not afford to pay 4000 rupees for a 1 hour air jaunt. They would most likely prefer a comfortable rail/road journey.Also considering the time required for other formalities besides the actual journey time would ultimately result in saving maximum of 1-1.5 hours. So now we have to ask this question - Comparing the ecological, economical and cultural cost of saving this one hour, is this payoff really worth it?
Equally objectionable is the tendency to convert public spaces into private enclaves. Hence, if the only consumer Jains won't consume the seaplane services then the investment into it is deemed to fail. The Government which is ought to come up with this service needs to rethink before making any investments and creating issues where there were none, all in the name of earning few incentives which anyway is a dystopia and even if they earn would seep out fast.

Lets pledge to not contribute to this endeavor benefiting no one and protect our belief, our faith, our devotion, and the sanctity of pious River Shetrunji

Let's Pledge


Also, we request everyone to register your protests by sending the letter attached in the link to the below mentioned address

Letter(Hindi) Letter(Gujarati)

Hon. Prime Minister of India.
Shri Narendra Bhai Modi
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi-110011

Email id:


  1. #NOSEAPLANEATSATRUNJAY. IT IS A TIRTHSTHAN FOR. Jains like what is vetican for cristians
    Mecca for. Muslims
    Kashi for hindus
    So please. Dont make. It a tourist. Spot.. A PIVNIC SPOT OR TOURIST SPOT MAY BE AVAILABLE ANY WHERE IN THE WORLD BUT THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE. To relieve from. Karma and attain moksha. So. Please dont spoil the piousness of the. Place.

  2. ધાર્મિક સ્થળો માં પવિત્ર ભૂમિ મા આ ન હોવું જોઈએ.

  3. Pranam🙏shri Shatrunjay Mahatirth ki pavitrata ko dhyan me rakha kar Shatrunjay Nadi par koi sea plane nahi banaya jana chahiye,tirth ki Pavitrata ko hame salaamat rakhana chahiye, tirth kshetra ki hilna/aashatna ka paapa aane wale janm me bhi sathme aata hai aur chutta bhi nahi isliye tirth par koi bhi paapa samagrika vikas na hone dene me hi tirth ki aur hamari bhi bhalayi hai #NoSeaPlaneInShatunjay
    @GovernorofGuj @ushapadhee1996 @naqvimikhtar
    @Nitinbhai_Patel @imBhupendrasinh @jitu_vaghani


    Along with this request you to Tag this Authorities also in your Tweet.

  4. Pranam🙏tirth ki Pavitrata ko hame salaamat rakhana chahiye, tirth kshetra ki hilna/aashatna ka paapa aane wale janm me bhi sathme aata hai aur chutta bhi nahi isliye tirth par koi bhi paapa samagrika vikas na hone dene me hi tirth ki aur hamari bhi bhalayi hai #NoSeaPlaneInShatunjay
    @GovernorofGuj @ushapadhee1996 @naqvimikhtar
    @Nitinbhai_Patel @imBhupendrasinh @jitu_vaghani


    Along with this request you to Tag this Authorities also in your Tweet.

    1. Hamara kartavya hai ki tirth hilna ko rokana hamara tirtha hamare liye mahan hai sabhi ko shata dene wala hai ,waha koi seaplane aap nahi banao ,sarkar ko punaha vichar karna chahiye 🙏

  5. Jaise mata ka sthan sab se upar hota hai ,usi prakar shatrunaj nadi hamari mata hai us pe sea plane banana galat hai शत्रुंजय माता का अपमान हैं।

  6. Pranam Modiji
    Me apse vinanti karta hu ki Apna Shashwat Tirht Ke upar kou tourist spot na bane kyuki jo shrantrunjay palitana ka vatavaran ko haan karega iselye Hum chahate he ki Koi bhi tourist spot var sea plane ka aagrement na ho aur

    1. Yes actually… we wont allow it to work if ever it is build. We would not let you use our holy river for such waste purposes. Ya it is economical to build sea plane but there are various other rivers and seas also, so please go there and don’t spoil this place atleast

  7. Sea plane ko kahin aur divert kardiya jaye tirth kshetra par tirth ki hilna ka paapa lagta hai.

  8. Tirtha pe paapoki samagri ko badhana tirtha hilna ka bada karan bansakta hai isliye #NoSeaPlaneInShatrunjay

  9. Yes actually… we wont allow it to work if ever it is build. We would not let you use our holy river for such waste purposes. Ya it is economical to build sea plane but there are various other rivers and seas also, so please go there and don’t spoil this place atleast

  10. Please don’t make this place as Tourist spot-basis for Tourism, this is our holy place, where many Jains come to worship. Only request is please stop this SeaPlaneproject on our holy river-Shatrunjay nadi. #NoSeaPlaneinShatrunjay.

  11. Sea plane ke liye jo place pasnd gaya wo galat hai kahin aur is project ko divert kar dena chahiye श्री शत्रुंजय महातीर्थ koi samanya tirth nahi is nadi ka jal bhi ati Pavitra hai kai rogo ka nashak hai.

  12. It’s a place of worship for jainism, here people come to decreased thier karma… pls let it me a workshop pace … don’t convert into to picnic spot…

  13. Pls do not use it for sea plane as it’s a holi place and even if it’s constructed the water is polluted. So pls do not pollute the water for the tourist’s attraction.

  14. This is a ridicule…already very briefly explained all the points & nothing is really left to explain more..I request govt to not let this thing happen to our pious river, where we even perform aarti n decorate the river with diyas on auspicious days. It is as holy as ganga to hindus n shetrunjay river to us (Jains)..

  15. Please dont make sea plane tourism place in shetrunji river. Its hurt our feeling & jain religious moral. Its effect on holiness of our river. Just like ganga river for hindus, shetrunji river is for jain

  16. Its our jain’s holy place so plz dnt make it tourist place # shratunjay##no sea plane in shratunjay##jainism##no sea plane

  17. Setrunjay Sashwata tirth he .. vaha esa koi plan government nhi kar sakti .. baki dharm me esa kyu nhi ?? Jain tirtho ko hi kyu target karte ho ?? Hamare tirth mari jaan ne , hamare sasan ki pratishta pranalika ko ham se mat chino .. nahi banna chahiye vaha esa kuch bhi jis se jain sasan ka anadar ho , aganit dosh lage esa kuch bhi nahi hona chahiye .. hamara sasan hamari shan he , hamara sab kuch he ..
    Vande Sashnam ,
    Jay Adinath ..

  18. शत्रुंजय नदी का महत्व जितना हिन्दु घमॅ मे गंगा मैया को मैया कहा गया है। वेसे ही शत्रुंजय नदी हमारी मा समान है। दुसरी और कई जगह है जहा यह प्लांट शिफ्ट किया जा सकता है।

  19. Setrunjay shaswata tirth he!!vaha ku6 bhi Nahi ho Sakta!ku6 Karna bhi Nahi Chahiye!!wah hmari Jaan or saan he!!!jay Giriraj!!Jay aadinath!!

  20. Please stop this seaplane plan.. Shetrunjay tirth is our Shasvat tirth
    Nd it is our heart.. So please stop this..

  21. Sir, SHETRUNJAY tirth and SHETRUNJAY river is a very sacred place, so I request you not to make it a tourist place. No sea plane tourist place please.

  22. This is a thoughtful conspiracy of ruining the sanctity of our pilgrimage land under the name of boosting tourism. This has happened many times even in the past also. We will strongly protest against the sea plane plan & govt has to drop this plan and also we want assurance from the concerned authorities that such kind of steps are not repeated in future as well.

    1. यह हमारा धार्मिक छेत्र है
      प्लीज इसे पाप स्थान ना बनाओ
      आप सभी से हाथ जोड़ कर विनंती करते है

    My Dear Honourable Prime Minister,
    narendra modiji,
    shatrunjay thirth is our pavitra religious place from many of years. If government makes it tourist place,
    many of the tourists can be non – vegetarian . For them non – vegetarians hotels & restaurants will be opened . This makes our tirth unpavitra.
    So please stop this work .This request is from all Jainees.

  24. *#NoSeaPlaneInShatrunjay*

    @vijayrupanibjp @narendramodi @PMOIndia @CMOGuj @GujaratTourism @HardeepSPuri @MoCA_GoI @AmitShah @HMOIndia

  25. Please do not start sea plane in satrunjay. It will harmful for nature, aniamals,birds and even the one of the great jain Tirth Palitana. So please stop this.

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