Special Correspondent

They want EIA consultants' registration process made transparent

  • Testimonies of the project-affected should be the basis'
  • Keep out companies charged with making faulty reports: groups

    NEW DELHI: Environmentalists and civil society groups are against the methodology adopted by the Union Environment and Forests Ministry for registering of consultants to conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

    In a letter to Union Environment and Forests Secretary Prodipto Ghosh, the groups and individuals have suggested that public testimonies of experiences of the project-affected communities should be the basis for any registration and the process should be open and transparent.

    Suggesting that registration should exclude all companies and consultants charged with authoring faulty and substandard reports in the past, the letter points out that a credible, independent committee, with an equal representation of civil society, should be empowered to register, revoke certification and blacklist EIA consultants. In the past 13 years of the existence of the EIA notification, project-affected communities, individuals and NGOs repeatedly pointed out to the Ministry that highly inadequate and inaccurate EIA documents were used as the basis for public hearings and grant of environmental clearances.

    "To our deep disappointment, despite sound critiques and efforts of the civil society to highlight these flaws, neither the project proponents, EIA consultants nor the Ministry were not held accountable," it said.

    "What is further disappointing is that despite this fact, today, when the Ministry is involved in developing a scheme to register the very same EIA consultants, there has been no space or scope for public inputs and there is no attempt to actively engage groups and interested citizens in the process of either developing this scheme or in the process of registration of EIA consultants itself," it said.