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

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.