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Draft environmental notification suggests Govt of India's 'regressive' mindset

By Our Representative
Top Gujarat environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, taking strong exception to the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2020, has demanded that, in view of its proposed “regressive changes” amidst Covid-19 crisis, the EIA notification should be immediately withdrawn and not implemented at all. The deadline for public comments for the notification ended on June 30.
In a letter to Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prajapati, who is with the NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, said, the current notification has been “an important tool for the legal assessment of social and environmental impacts of development projects and for organising public participation before the setting up or expansion of industrial and infrastructure projects in the country.”
Stating that the notification suggests the type of “priorities” the government has at a time when “an alarming situation” has developed due to the “combined effects of an economic slowdown and a massive burden on the public system”, the letter reminded the minister that the “the shutting of many activities during this lockdown has improved the air quality in major cities and rivers are flowing relatively clean and free.”
Noting that “this should show you that your system of regulating industrial and human activity has failed to protect our air and water from chemical toxins”, Prajapati said, “The ministry is still giving approvals to more mining, more industries, more mega constructions and more highways. These will destroy more forests, pollute more water sources, occupy more farm land, public space and coastal areas.”

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