MUMBAI: Environment minister Aditya Thackeray has called for a re-evaluation of the Centre’s draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020. The draft, he said, undermines the nature of co-operative federalism embedded in the Constitution as envisioned by Dr B R Ambedkar.
Thackeray who has been increasingly vocal on environmental issues after becoming minister sent in his objections/suggestions on Tuesday, the last day for such submissions.
In his objections he said the draft EIA proposes to reduce the control of the
on environmental issues as it empowers the centre to directly appoint state EIA Assessment authorities.
“Instead of decentralisation, such centralisation in environmental clearances would only lead to hurdles or clearances without taking into account local issues. Reducing the state government’s control will have direct consequences on environment protection efforts,” reads the letter.
Referring to the Western Ghats, he pointed out that it is amongst the top eight biodiversity hotspots in the world. While large parts of the Western Ghats are Eco Sensitive Areas, the definition of ESAs have been narrowed down to exclude villages, forests, wetlands, coasts etc.
The draft, he said, does not conform to the provisions of the Environment Protection Act. “By diluting the nature and scope of environmental impact of proposed projects and by not considering climate change impact in the decision making process the draft goes against the mandate given to the government to protect the environment.”
which is an ecologically sensitive region and home to 28 milion people will be adversely impacted if projects are passed without extensive public deliberations. In recent years, Konkan residents have opposed a refinery project and the Shiv Sena too has supported it.
Since coming to power, the
Maha Vikas Aghadi
government has stayed the work on the metro car shed at Aarey colony, opposed the rail route passing through the
tiger reservoir, as also coal blocks that would adversely impact the wildlife corridors in Vidarbha frequented by tigers.
Thackeray joins numerous citizens including former union environment minister Jairam Ramesh who have voiced concerns over the Draft EIA. Over a 100 organisations have written emails to the 785 MPs of the
and Rajya Sabha appealing to them to take a stand against the draft EIA Notification.
These organisations have objected to post facto clearances for projects commenced without EIA study which they said in effect takes away the requirement for prior environment clearance. “It provides for regularising violating projects which only serves to encourage violators and violations. It also introduces a single step environment permission for certain projects which will not have to go through the EIA process,” said a press release.