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

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.

Shabana Azmi joins Pak physicist Hoodbhoy to condemn B'desh anti-minority violence

By Our Representative  Several well-known South Asian activists and public figures of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives have expressed “deep distress” by the spate of violence and killings in Bangladesh on the occasion of Durga Puja and Vijayadashami. “Attacks on minorities are a sign of injustice and a matter of shame for any society and bring a bad name to the Government”, they said in a joint statement.