EIA assault on India’s ecological security, environment, millions of poor adivasis: Cong

NEW DELHI, Aug 11: The Congress on Tuesday claimed that the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification-2020 (EIA-2020) is an assault on India’s ecological security, environment, fragile ecosystems and millions of poor adivasis.

Addressing a virtual press conference, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that the government unilaterally acquired power to appoint state environmental impact assessment authorities, thereby killing cooperative federalism.

Environmentalists, civil society groups and activists have raised objections to the EIA-2020.

“This usurpation of power by the Centre virtually makes the role and responsibility of state governments rudderless and that of a mute spectator,” the Congress leader alleged.

“The EIA-2020 licences and legitimizes environmental damage indefinitely by monetizing environmental crimes.

“The draft EIA-2020 allows the project owners to post facto pay compensation in cases where they pollute the environment and continue their operations as if nothing has changed (Clause 22),” Surjewala said.

He said that the act of paying compensation is presumed to retrieve or reverse the environmental damage caused, introducing a concept of monitoring environmental crimes. “This is an amnesty scheme giving a clean chit to polluters without a cut-off date.”

He also alleged that the draft EIA-2020 has considerably increased the period of validity of prior environmental clearance.

“EIA-2020 is in complete negation of the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, as also the judgments of the supreme court,” he said. (PTI)