Skip to main content

Govt of India national consultation on environmental rules with industry reps "avoids" other stakeholders

Mahesh Pandya
By Our Representative
In a move that is prompting senior #environmentalists to raise serious doubts about its motives, the Government of India has begun its “national consultation” on finalizing rules on hazardous waste, e-waste, solid waste, plastic waste and biomedical waste by keeping the country’s senior environmental experts at bay. While the consultation has already taken place in #Delhi (May 1) and #Mumbai (May 8), they are scheduled for May 22 in #Bangaluru and May 23 in #Kolkata.
The environmentalists have particularly taken strong exception to the fact that the chief organizers of each of these consultations across India are the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (#MoEFCC), the Central Pollution Control Board (#CPCB), and the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (#FICCI).
“Is the industry body so important for environment that the MoEFCC forgot to include environmental groups and the people affected by environmental pollution, who are the most important stakeholders in any consultation? Worse, why were environmentalists not even informed about the consultation, though it is of national character”, said a senior environmental expert, who managed to “sneak” into the Mumbai consultation.
Talking with Counterview, the expert, Mahesh Pandya, who heads Ahmedabad-based NGO, Paryavaran Mitra, said, “During my routine check on the MoEFCC website I learnt of the national consultation. There was no information on whom to approach if you wished to part of it. Nor did it identify venue -- probably fearing a sudden rush of environmentalist on the spot.”
Pointing out that he managed to get an invite through a source in FICCI, Pandya said, “I requested for an invite on May 3. It was to be held on May 7. But suddenly, a day earlier, I came to know that the venue had been changed to May 8. Why such mismanagement?”
“What surprised me at the consultation venue in Mumbai was, big representatives from industry, including those from Reliance and Birla, were present on the occasion, no major environmentalist from Maharashtra or Gujarat were present. Either they did not know about the consultation, or were not deliberately not invited”, he said.
Also surprising was, said Pandya, that Ashok Lavasa, secretary, MoEFCC, announced that rules on hazardous waste had already been finalized. “If that was so, what the grand idea of holding consultation on this subject?”, he wondered.
Most of those who participated in the national consultation, apart from Government of India officials and industry representatives, were environmental consultants and operators. “There were a couple of unknown environmental NGOs from Maharashtra at the consultation, and they kept quiet for most of the time”, Pandya said, adding, “The only exception was veteran biomedical waste expert Almitra Patel, 80, who has done exceptional work on municipal solid waste.”
The invitation sent to participants said, as stakeholders, they required to “analyze provisions of draft rules and their associated impacts on various stakeholders ensuring environmentally sound management of various categories of wastes in the country” and the discussion points would include “practical challenges while segregation, collection, storage, transportation and final disposal of waste; anticipated challenges while complying with the draft rules”, and “procedural bottlenecks identified during administering the various waste management rules.”
Wondering whether environmentalists or people’s organizations were not stakeholders, Pandya said, also said that invitation also said "the discussion aims to provide a structured feedback on further refining/amendments to the draft rules”. He commented, this means “avoiding any input from environmental experts or those affected by industrial pollution”.

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.