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

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Trump in Ahmedabad: Did Modi display servile colonial mindset towards gora sahib?

By Rajiv Shah
Donald Trump left Ahmedabad for Agra to "enjoy" the Mughal monument Taj Mahel in the afternoon on Monday, leaving behind scores of huge billboards standing across the megacity showcasing larger than life images of the US president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, some of them boldly captioned: “Two strong leaders of two strong democracies”.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.

Union Budget: 24 crore people live in the dark, Sitharaman talks of prepaid smart meters

Counterview Desk
The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a Delhi-based advocacy group, commenting on the Union budget 2020-21, has has called it a case of missing wood for the trees, pointing out, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "missed an opportunity to fix the economy, which is reeling under an unprecedented slowdown, with all indices pointing towards a recession."