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

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…