Tamil Nadu

More than 75 youth groups in T.N. ask Javadekar to withdraw EIA notification

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar. File photo

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar. File photo  

More than 75 youth groups in Tamil Nadu have written to Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to abandon the draft EIA Notification 2020, terming it as short-sighted, and being unconstitutional, rewarding violators and diluting the existing mandatory provisions.

The letter signed by the youth from the Chennai Climate Action Group and more than 75 other youth groups including from various colleges and some political parties, said the proposed notification weakened the body of laws that protect the environment at a time when there is a need to strengthen such statutes.

“Worse, the proposed rules seek to enrich businesses and the corporate sector by emasculating democracy, limiting public participation and due diligence, and rewarding environmental offenders by facilitating post- facto environmental clearances for projects that begin or are completed without license,” the youth groups said.

“The voices of today’s youth, and the aspirations of future generations have to be taken into account in designing today’s policies and legislation. Such law-making cannot be left in the hands of older people with little stake in the future,” they said,

The groups also said the ministry’s action on the matter was irresponsible, reckless and insensitive to the rights of young people and the future generations. Detailing provisions that are problematic, the youngsters said, “The draft has no redeeming features. We request you to abandon this draft, to commit yourself to our well-being and future and initiate a wide-ranging participatory exercise to strengthen our environmental laws, and bring our development and economic plans in line with the increasingly visible limits being imposed by nature”.

They issued a detailed critique to the Minister along with the letter on issues such as requirement of prior environment clearance, preparation of Environment Impact Assessment Report, public consultation, post facto approvals and also on the issue of environment versus economic development.

On the issue of post facto approvals for projects, the groups slammed the proposal as making ‘a mockery of the Environment Protection Act by suggesting that an industrial project that has violated the process of seeking approvals will have a right to seek approval despite the wrongdoings. It seems like the purpose of this notification is to legitimise illegalities done by industries’.

On the point of reduction of time period for the public to comment on projects and public hearing, the youth said this would pose a problem in areas where information is not easily accessible or even where people are not aware of the process itself. They said various Supreme Court judgements have made it clear that the time for making any representation must be adequate, otherwise it would be a violation of principles of natural justice.

The groups also said that the Ministry’s decisions to weaken the already meagre protection offered by the EIA Notification, 2006, come at a time when the world is staring at the very real prospect of ‘climate mayhem’.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 5:24:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/more-than-75-youth-groups-in-tn-ask-javadekar-to-withdraw-eia-notification/article32258398.ece

Next Story