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In letter to Javadekar, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh strongly objects to EIA draft 2020


Written by Esha Roy
| New Delhi |

Updated: July 25, 2020 9:09:57 pm

Environment Impact assessment (EIA) Draft 2020, prakash javadekar eia draft, eia draft controversy, jairam ramesh prakash javadekar In the letter, Ramesh expressed his “strongest objections to the draft EIA 2020 notification’’
Strongly objecting to the proposed Environment Impact assessment (EIA) Draft 2020, former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh Saturday wrote to Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, saying the draft reflects “a mindset that sees environmental regulation as unnecessary regulatory burden.”

The Centre had called for suggestions and objections to the draft to be submitted by August 10, after which the draft is to be notified.

The EIA is a study carried out before the implementation of a proposed project or development to assess its impact on the environment. It is mandatory for an EIA to be carried out and approved by the Ministry for most projects in the country.

However, the proposed draft has been widely criticized with environmental experts pointing to dilution of various rules, which would allow rampant infrastructure development without necessary measures to protect the environment.

The latest to join this chorus against the EIA, Ramesh said that as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change, “it is my duty to place on record my strongest objections to the draft EIA 2020 notification’’ and that the draft reflects “a mindset that sees environmental regulation as unnecessary regulatory burden and not as an essential obligation to be met for the health and welfare of our people and for ensuring development that is sustainable’’.

Ramesh has objected to the EIA draft notification on five grounds. Firstly, that it allows for post facto approvals. This points to environmental clearance after a violation has already been made, without prior permission for project development. This, the Congress leader says, goes against the very principle of assessment and public participation
prior to environmental clearance and “has provisions which will routinely legitimize illegality.’’

Ramesh said the draft reduces public participation in all steps of the environmental clearance process by lessening the notice period for public hearings, and doing away with them altogether for large category projects.

Further, he says, that the draft does away with environmental clearance altogether in “very many cases of expansion.’’

“It increases validity of environmental clearances allowing projects to “secure’’ land for long durations even when they are not constructed. This promotes land grab, not development. It gives the Union government full powers to appoint State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities. This is another nail in the coffin of cooperative federalism. These changes are not based on the three As –audits, assessments and analyses. The changes are not based on any
research,’’ he said in the letter.

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