New Delhi: Terming the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), 2020 a ‘disastrous ‘ law that will unleash ‘unprecedented devastation on the environment’, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said that the government must stop dismantling India’s environmental regulations and demanded withdrawal of its notification.
In an article in a national daily, Sonia Gandhi said, ‘The disastrous Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), 2020 notification, which among other provisions, gives a clean chit to polluters violating environmental regulations through ex-post facto approvals, will unleash unprecedented devastation on our environment.
The government must stop dismantling India’s environmental regulations. An essential first step is to withdraw the Draft EIA 2020 Notification. What is essential is widespread public consultation to shape a national agenda that will place India at the forefront of the battle against global warming and pandemics.’
Accusing the government of rolling out red carpet for crony capitalists, systematically disenfranchising the marginalised and vulnerable populations and abandoning its responsibility to both domestic and international commitments on climate change and environmental protection in the name of reforms, Ms Gandhi said, ‘This is a completely wrong way to go about things.
The government should recognise it has a social obligation to protect the environment and promote public health. India’s environmental protection framework is not a regulatory burden and the government must incentivise industry to shift its mindset from clearances to compliance.
‘The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector must be subsidised to follow green norms. Nobody denies that India needs a modern EIA framework. But it must be based on best available scientific knowledge, enhanced public participation and regular social audits. The concept of cumulative impacts of projects in a region or ecology — on the Ganga, for example, must be adopted. You cannot have ‘Nirmal Ganga’ without ‘Aviral Ganga’.’