Environmentalists voice concerns against the draft EIA notification 2020

Policy matters this week
9 Jul 2020
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Work in progress in coal mines in Jharsuguda (Image source: IWP Flickr album)
Work in progress in coal mines in Jharsuguda (Image source: IWP Flickr album)

Draft EIA notification 2020 attracts criticism from experts

In March this year, the Environment Ministry had issued the draft environmental impact assessment (EIA) notification. However, as per the experts, the new draft is non-transparent, undemocratic, unjust and unaccountable as it ensures no monitoring of development projects. Many provisions of the draft EIA Notification 2020 seem to tilt the scales in favour of infrastructure over the environment. The new proposal which will allow retrospective approval for projects that don’t have green clearance, seems to be very damaging, fear experts. The experts call for wide and deep deliberation of the draft notification before it is finalised. (The HIndu, Financial Express)

NGT slaps a fine of Rs 25 crore at Oil India over Baghjan oil well fire incident

In connection to a massive fire which exploded from OIL's Baghjan well, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the government-owned Oil India Limited (OIL), to deposit an initial amount of Rs. 25 crore with the District Magistrate, Tinsukia District, Assam, for causing damage to the environment, biodiversity, humans, wildlife and public health. Along with this, the bench has also constituted an eight-member Committee to look into the matter and submit its preliminary report within 30 days. While NGT has fined OIl India for causing destruction in the region, another news report has informed that the mixing of condensate with floodwaters in the Maguri-Motapung Beel close to the blowout site has killed fish in large numbers as the floodwaters have turned acidic. (National Herald, The Telegraph India)

Public outcry leads to panchayat refusing to allow mining in Neugal river

Bathan panchayat in Himachal Pradesh were left with no choice but to refuse the issuance of no-objection certificate for the allotment of a part of the Neugal river for mining and setting up a stone crusher after the public outcry. The residents of Thural and Bathan panchayat had lodged a protest over the government’s decision to open a part of the river for mining activities and setting up a stone crusher subject to the issuance of an NoC from the panchayat and local environmental groups. When a special meeting was called to discuss the issue and seek public opinion, the panchayat members unanimously rejected the proposal as it would lead to environmental degradation in the area. (The Tribune)

NGT raps NMCG for failing to save Ganga river from pollutants

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has reprimanded the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) for failing to control pollutants entering Ganga river and other water bodies. As per the panel, NMCG report does not show any meaningful action and merely refers to certain meetings and field visits by the officials of the Ministry of Jal Shakti. Moreover, the report hardly mentions compliance of law and rigorous steps which are expected against law violators when violations are rampant and patent. The NGT has ordered the Central Pollution Control Board and Secretary in the Ministry of Jal Shakti to ensure no pollution is discharged in water bodies and violators are to be dealt with as per mandate of law without any deviation from timelines. (Outlook India)

Tribal protests creates a roadblock for Bodhghat project in Chhattisgarh

In a bid to provide irrigation facilities to farmers in the three Communist Party of India (Maoist)-hit districts of the Bastar region, the Chhattisgarh government had started conducting a survey for the multi-purpose Bodhghat project on the Indravati river. The project, worth Rs 22,000 crore and likely to generate 300 megawatt of hydel power, envisages to construct a dam near Barsoor village in Dantewada district to irrigate 3,66,580 hectares (ha) of farmland in Maoist–affected Dantewada, Bijapur, and Sukma districts. However, the local tribes in the Bastar division stood up against the project due to fears of displacement and deforestation and the project's survey was stalled. Also, the activists have demanded that the project should be approved by state’s tribal advisory committee first because it is being constructed in tribal-dominated areas. (Hindustan Times)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from June 24 - July 7, 2020. Also, read news this week.

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