Environmental Impact Assessment


THE EIA DRAFT 2020 
(Environmental Impact Assessment)

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IT:

During the 2nd semester in my college, I had environmental studies as my AECC and my professor used to say that the government does a lot of work in the name of ‘public interest’ but never let us know who it is going to affect as in a long run.

WHAT IS EIA? :

EIA is an environmental impact assessment that is done before any proposed project in order to check whether it has an impact(positive or negative) on the environment or not. In 1994, the first environmental impact assessment was issued under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) of 1986. And later in 2006, the were replaced by an updated draft. Now again the union government has brought a draft to modify the current EIA draft which is dangerous for the environment.

THE NEW CHANGES IN THE EIA…

One was the provision, which is seen as a very big loophole, is post-facto, that’s means earlier it was the provision that before starting the project, it has to get clearance that it is not violating the EPA according to the new draft a project which is operating in the violating of EPA can apply for clearance means a company would easily destroy the environment by just paying some fines. On 1st April, the Supreme Court clearly said that such clearance is contrary to the law.
The next problem with this EIA is public consultation. According to the current law, the EIA report is made available 30 days advance before the public hearing but now the period is going to reduce to 20 days. Today, according to the law, any project must have a public hearing at a particular place chaired by the District Collector. But under the new law, public hearing can also be conducted in any mode, like currently Maharashtra is conducting through zoom and there are many people and stakeholders who don’t have access to it. 

It's NOT ABOUT DEVELOPMENT BUT ITS ABOUT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT…
One cannot destroy the environment merely for the development, one needs to see the effect of it on the long run. With climate change at its peak which even the government has accepted needs to be tackled. The government needs to understand that easing the draft won’t boost economic growth. Currently, India is the fifth most affected country in climate change. The Cyclone Amphan and Nisarga which caused heavy destruction in Maharashtra and eastern India shows the consequences of climate change.
On 27th of April, there was a massive fire erupted from the production well of Oil India Limited(OIL) in Baghjan, Assam which was caused due to the leakage of flammable natural gas and this took the houses of 1600 families due to which they are leaving in a relief camp and they merely got rupees 30000 as a stipulation. Earlier that month, OIL got permission for drilling and testing at elephant reserve, Dibru Saikhowa National Park, which is just 2km away from the place where the fire erupted.

WHAT CAN WE DO?
There is a public mandatory feedback window to send feedback regarding the new draft of EIA. Earlier it was set to expire on 10th June but due to the pandemic and delay in publishing the draft in the Gazette the date was extended till 10th August but the environment minister Prakash Javadekar overruled the ministry and set the new deadline on 30th of June but later Delhi High Court extended the date till 11th August while hearing a petition.
There are environmentalists and lawyers who have urged the citizen to send feedback to the government to rollback this draft. Also, they have created a site where one can easily send feedback to the government.
                                 Here’s the link: https://www.fridaysforfuture.in/emailcampaign/Withdraw-Draft-EIA

WRITTEN BY: 
VINAY KUMAR SINGH
RAMANUJAN COLLEGE, DELHI UNIVERSITY

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