The article “Digging up the dirt” (Oct. 21) was timely. The corrupt manner in which the Andhra Pradesh Environmental Impact Assessment Authority and the Expert Appraisal Committees function with respect to the silicon mines in Nellore is there for all to see.
Companies start mining much before getting permission. The authorities appoint a committee and visit the site. Without even informing the locals, they make illegal mining legal.
Sustainable development is often heard in discussion circles, not in government corridors. There is less concern and action from people who control the levers of power. Industries without care for the environment are encouraged and patronised.
The political class, through benamis, is behind most of the illegal and anti-ecological industrial units. Asking those in power to stop or reduce steps that harm the environment is like expecting the predator to save the prey. We need sustained public pressure to keep those who destroy the environment at bay.
Development and ecological sustainability can go hand in hand only when there is a political will to ensure both. A developing country like India cannot neglect either.
While the focus on only the environment will harm development and obstruct economic growth, the focus on development alone will ruin the ecology. The Environment Impact Assessment is the golden mean meant to preserve both.
Avadhoot Gorakhanath Shinde,
Keywords: Mining in Goa, Mining companies, Mining impact assessments, Enviromental regulators, Environmental Impact Assessments, Environment Clearance, Justice Shah Commission’s Report, Nilesh Gaonkar, Environmental Management Plans