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Congress Opposes EIA Notification 2020

Coal News - Published on Wed, 12 Aug 2020

Image Source: EIA 2020
Indian National Congress has alleged that the draft Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2020, if approved in its current form, will license and legitimise environmental damage indefinitely by monetising environmental crimes. Congress spokesperson Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala said that “EIA 2020 is in complete negation of the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 as also the judgements of the Supreme Court. EIA 2020 is an assault on India's ecological security, environment, flora and fauna, forests, fragile ecosystems, marginalized people and future generations. The draft EIA 2020 allows the project owners to post-facto pay compensation in cases where they pollute the environment and continue their operation. This is an amnesty scheme giving a clean chit to polluters without a cut-off date.”

Indian National Congress party also said that the government has excluded environmental clearance requirement for strategic projects without defining what is strategic.

The deadline for filing objection to the draft of Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2020 expired on August 11. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had issued it on March 23. It had earlier set June 30 as the date for filing objections. However, following a writ petition, the Ministry extended the date till August 11. If the Notification is passed, it would replace the current EIA 2006 and make several important clauses about which the environmentalists and civil society organizations had expressed concern over devastating impact of ruthless destruction of forests, hills and rivers.

The Draft Notification allows for post-facto clearance implying that the projects will have the scope for first violating the environment laws and then seek clearance which goes against the very objective of such laws. Secondly, it leaves little scope for public consultation. The Notification itself gave 20 days for public consultation and then extended it after public uproar. Thirdly, it exempts projects that the Government may think were strategic. This allows huge margin for error and especially now that only post-facto clearances were necessary. This is likely to place lot many projects out of the pale of public objections and regulatory system.

According to NGO Environment Support Group, India currently stands pretty low, i.e., at 168th position among the ranking of Environmental Performance Index of 180 countries. Environment related NGOs are unanimous that the current notification favours the industrial projects rather than the environment protection.

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Posted By : Yogender Pancholi on Wed, 12 Aug 2020
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