The window for public feedback on the contentious draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification closed on 11 August. According to a report in the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) communicated that it has received an estimated 17 lakh comments from the public on the EIA. Here is EIA 2020: An Analysis.
For the past few months, hashtags like Draft EIA 2020, EIA Draft 2020 and EIA 2020 has been continuously trending across the country. Using them, activists and civil society groups have critiqued the draft, educated the public on the changes in rules and encouraged people to send in their feedback to the government. Many activists have called the new EIA “anti-environment” and “pro-industries”.
Here is an EIA 2020: An Analysis. An EIA is an important process for evaluating the likely environmental impact of a proposed project. It makes a scientific estimate of the likely impacts of a project, such as a mine, irrigation dam, industrial unit, or waste treatment plant. It is a process whereby people’s views are taken into consideration for granting final approval to any developmental project or activity. It is basically, a decision-making tool to decide whether the project should be approved or not.
The draft notification is issued under the powers vested in the central government under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to take all such measures for “protecting and improving the quality of the environment. Let us take closer look at EIA 2020: An Analysis.
The new draft has been proposed with the aim of making processes more transparent and expedient. But in effect, the draft proposes the removal of several activities from the purview of public consultation.
One of the main causes of concern is that the draft has exempted almost 40 different projects such as clay and sand extraction or digging wells or foundations of buildings, solar thermal power plants and common effluent treatment plants are exempted from prior EC or prior EP. Several projects such as all B2 projects, irrigation, production of halogens, chemical fertilisers, acids manufacturing, biomedical waste treatment facilities, building construction and area development, elevated roads and flyovers, highways or expressways are exempted from public consultation. Here was the vivid EIA 2020: An Analysis.