Why environmentalists are raising concerns about draft EIA 2020 notification?

Guwahati: EIA Notification, 2020 (Environmental Assessment Impact) issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is attracting heavy criticism from environmentalists and several sections of the society.

The MoEFCC’s March 12 draft notification contains a set of new rules that will replace the 2006 notification and purports to make the existing norms “more transparent and expedient” in issuing environment clearances for development projects.

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Changes proposed by MoEFCC proposed in the draft:

1.         The clearances for projects can be awarded even if they have started construction without securing environmental clearances.

2.         Public consultation process under the draft notification is reduced from 30 days to 20 days.

3.         The new draft now asks a project promoter to file a compliance report once a year. Previously it was in every six months.

4.         Government will have the authority to categories the projects as “strategic”. For a “strategic project”, the government shall disclose no information to public.

“It’s rather deplorable of how the draft notification was released during lockdown when the whole country is struggling to survive the pandemic. To take away public’s rights to opine on developmental projects is undemocratic and a clear attack on tribals and indigenous people,” Environmental activist and founder of Muse Foundation, Nishant Bangera.

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On Tuesday, The Delhi High Court extended the time period granted by the Central Government for filing objections to the draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2020 till August 11. June 30 was the deadline set earlier. 

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