11th Aug 2020 10:08:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

The draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 2020 prepared and proposed by the MoEFCC has met with massive opposition not only in Arunachal Pradesh, but also across the country and there are solid reasons for it. By now it must be a long list of lacunae pointed out by environmental activists that have  become the centrepieces of differences, but, the most telling seems to be the attempt to reduce the ambit and stringency of scrutiny of the vital aspect of environmental impact assessment, which, is feared will prove to be extremely detrimental irrespective of any region in the long run. Along with this and several other proposed changes, which in totality will give way to a major shift in understanding and dealing with the increasing exigencies and vulnerabilities of environment and its related issues have given rise to mounting concerns. It’s natural for Arunachal to join the chorus against draft EIA 2020 since, even from a general understanding of the complexities of the proposed provisions, also echoed by various knowledgeable stakeholders in the state, there are a good number of ‘qualities’ in it to cause overwhelming alteration to the status quo of its rich and diversified environment ecosystem, which is always counted by it’s people as ‘prized possession’.

Before delving into ‘major’ points of contention, it will be hard to fancy, also pointed out by environmental activists, as to why there were attempts to cut short the public feedback deadline from August 10 to June 30 over such an important document, the impact of which is going to be felt by millions. It was only after Delhi HC’s intervention there was an extension up to August 11. Another vital departure from EIA 2006 is the provision for granting ex post facto environmental clearances to projects that have already commenced illegally without clearances, making it nearly impossible to undertake and ensure adequate precautionary measures for first-hand sufferers, i.e the communities, who will be reduced to no less than ‘punching bags’. Questions will definitely arise regarding ‘cognisance of violations’ which has been redefined. It’s very strange the affected people will be having almost no say on this vital issue and sweeping powers will be enjoyed only by the concerned government authority or the developers themselves, which has escalated apprehensions that political clout and money power will have the last laughs.

It’s unfortunate the ‘precautionary principle’ which forms the cornerstone of any environment-related law has been given such meagre importance in the draft. Can it be denied that on any issue concerning threats on the environment, ‘remedy’ is almost practically impossible and preemptive avoidance measure(s) is the only feasible route. It’s here the activists are finding disturbing as the thrust of EIA 2020, unfortunately ignores this vital fact.

There are needs for industries for sure. But if it comes at the cost of the country’s already vulnerable environment and related human sufferings, it will be most  unfortunate. Red flags will continue to rise. Keeping in tune with the nation’s democratic ethos, feelings of the majority must be honoured.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

<< Back to News List