New Delhi, Jul 27 (Aryavarth): The draft EIA 2020 notification by BJP Goverment, if implemented, will only promote a land grab and not development, Jairam Ramesh, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change, has said in his letter to the Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar.
Ramesh, a former environment minister and a negotiator for India at the climate talks, feels that the proposal in the draft to allow post-facto approvals for projects, which means a company can put up a project and then seek environmental approvals later, will “routinely legitimize illegality.”
After Congress leader Jairam Ramesh raised objections to the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), 2020, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday responded by saying that Ramesh’s suggestions are unfounded and based on misrepresentation.
Ramesh had alleged that, “Draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020, and the proposed changes in environmental clearance process for infrastructure projects “will routinely legitimise illegality and promote land grab, not development”.
“All your suggestions are unfounded and based on misrepresentation,” Javadekar said in response to Jairam Ramesh’s letter dated July 25, in which he had raised “strongest objections” on draft EIA notification on five counts.
Union Minister also sought to remind Ramesh, a former Union Environment Minister that the draft notification has been kept in public domain for comments and suggestions and that 15 more days are left for doing so.
The minister rebutted criticism made by Jairam Ramesh, saying all “government decisions are always open for scrutiny of Parliament and Standing Committee”.
The response of the minister comes at a time when several environmentalists and green activists ran a campaign seeking scrapping of the EIA draft notification.
Several experts have roundly criticised the new EIA 2020 rules, particularly on the leeway provided to entities to seek post-facto environmental approvals.
“This is the worst moment in India’s environmental jurisprudence,” says Leo Saldhana, advocate and Co-ordinator, Environment Support Group and Convenor, Coalition for Environmental Justice in India. Minister Javadekar initiated it just a day before the lockdown began and nobody has had a good opportunity to study the draft notification and react.