Skip to main content

Why has the provision to imprison polluting industrialists dropped, wonders Ahmedabad NGO in note to MoEFCC

By Our Representative
In a note it has sent to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ahmedabad-based environmental NGO Paryavaran Mitra has taken strong exception to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) draft notification seeking to drop the provision for imprisoning the polluter.
The NGO, in its note it has circulated to activists, has said that Section 15 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, not only provided cash penalty for violation of any provisions of legislation or any rules made or orders or directions issued under the Act, but also provided punishment of up to five years imprisonment for the first offence, or fine of Rs 1 lakh, or both.
The Act further provided for “additional fine of Rs 5,000 for every day and an enhanced sentence of imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years where violation continued beyond a period of one year after the date of conviction”, the NGO says.
However, the NGO said, “The proposed draft notification, instead of giving punishment of imprisonment as well as fine, has opted only for fine as penalty to the violator, which gives a way out to the violators and encourages them to pollute and then pay fine.”
Objecting to yet another provision, the NGO says, the MoEFCC “is giving opportunity to project developers to obtain post facto environmental clearance by just implementing an environmental supplementary plan (ESP).”
It comments, “This approach if allowed would give project developers free hand to first start the project causing irreversible damage and then seek post-facto clearance.”
Suggesting that this would “dilute the powers of the National Green Tribunal and the judiciary, which are the only effective grievance redressal mechanisms for the affected peoples”, the NGO says, the draft notification also allows the MoEFCC to provide environmental clearance even as it is in the midst of preparing an ESP and agrees to implement the latter.
Objecting to this, the NGO says, “This means that, whether the violator successfully implements ESP or not, MoEFCC would grant environmental clearance, and the violator would not be under any pressure to implement ESP. On contrary, it would give the benefit of guaranteed environmental clearance from MoEFCC, because it has already agreed to implement ESP.”
The NGO questions the failure of the draft notification to implement the principle of “polluter pays”. It says, “First of all, the question is, do violators pay big fines? Secondly, the government has till date not made any provision or policy for using environmental fine or money collected from bank guarantee for environmental management.”
In fact, according to the NGO, “The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has published a guideline for all State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) on how to use bank guarantee amount taken away from noncomplying units. Yet, state governments have not been using the money for environmental conservation or for the amelioration of the affected people.”
Even then, the NGO says, the draft notification wants the ESP to be such that it provides for the remedies caused by ecological damage caused due to violation. However, it wonders why does not give any clarification on short term or long term damages incurred by a project, and how this should be evaluated.

Comments

TRENDING

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.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.