Draft EIA notification ‘dangerous’: Gandhi

NEW DELHI, Aug 9: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday urged people to protest the new Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)-2020 draft, saying it was “dangerous” and if notified, the long-term consequences will be “catastrophic.”

The draft EIA notification, which involves procedure of issuing environmental clearances to various projects, was issued by the environment ministry in March this year and public suggestions were invited.

In a Facebook post using the hashtag ‘WithdrawEIA2020’, Gandhi slammed the government over the EIA-2020 draft, saying it is not only “disgraceful,” but also “dangerous.”

“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.

Gandhi said, “Consider this: 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 EIA. Neither will highways or railway lines passing through dense forests and other eco-sensitive areas. This will result in the massive hacking down of trees, leading to the destruction of habitats of thousands of endangered species.”

The idea that environment impact assessment can be given post facto is a “terrible” one, he said.

“That is, EIA can be done after a project has already destroyed the environment,” the former Congress chief said.

The EIA-2020 draft is a disaster and it seeks to silence the voice of communities who will be directly impacted by the environmental degradation it unleashes, Gandhi said.

“I urge every Indian to rise up and protest against it. Our youth, who have always been at the forefront of every battle to protect our environment, must take up this cause and make it their own,” the former Congress chief said. (PTI)