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Monday, May 10, 2021

Draft EIA can undo hard-won environmental gains: Rahul Gandhi slams Centre

Calling the EIA 2020 draft a disaster, the Congress leader said it seeks to "silence the voice of communities who will be directly impacted by the environmental degradation it unleashes".

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 10, 2020 12:21:03 am
rafale fighter jets, rafale jets india, indian air force rafale, french rafale jets, rahul gandhi on rafale Talking about one of the points of the new draft, Gandhi said that EIA can be given post facto is a “terrible idea”, as the project has already destroyed the environment. (File)

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 notification, which has been placed by the government for public feedback, is “disgraceful” and “dangerous” and has the potential to undo hard-fought gains won over the years in the battle to protect the environment.

“The EIA 2020 draft is a disaster. It seeks to silence the voice of communities who will be directly impacted by the environmental degradation it unleashes,” Gandhi said. “Not only does it have the potential to reverse many of the hard-fought gains that have been won over the years in the battle to protect our environment, it could potentially unleash widespread environmental destruction and mayhem across India,” he said.

Also Read | Explained: Reading the draft Environment Impact Assessment norms, and finding the red flags

Jairam Ramesh, the head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change, continued his criticism of the draft. Pointing out that the Environment Protection Act of 1986 came about after the Bhopal gas tragedy, he said that the draft EIA will undo many key provisions of the EPA,1986. “Hence it’s not only dangerous but blatantly illegal. Subordinate legislation cannot rewrite the mother law,” he said.

Gandhi questioned the exemptions proposed in the draft.

“According to our ‘Swachh Bharat’ propagating government, if labelled ‘strategic’, highly polluting industries such as coal mining and other mineral mining will no longer require Environmental Impact Assessment. Neither will highways or railway lines passing through dense forests and other eco sensitive areas, that will result in the massive hacking down of trees… ,” he said.

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