A group of special rapporteurs has written to the center regarding the proposed Environment Impact Assessment(EIA) notification 2020. They asked for the government’s response to how the report’s provisions were consonant with India’s obligations under international law.
Special rapporteurs and the EIA
Special Rapporteurs are experts to the United Nations who work independently on a country or other specific target specified by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Five experts who worked on this proposal claimed that some parts of the notification hindered people’s rights to a safe and clean environment. According to them, the people’s health would be at stake if the clauses were not removed or changed. The experts also claimed that the government was merely trying to dilute specific laws to do business.
Violation of a safer environment
Some clauses of the Environment Impact Assessment notification vindicated large industries and projects from public consultation.
How will this affect the environment?
The experts claimed this relaxation of industries from public consultation might lead to unnecessary loss to the environment like the gas leak from LG polymers in Visakhapatnam on May 12 this year; this will predispose people to an unhealthy and unsafe environment.
The response of the government to the claims made by the experts
According to the Environment Ministry, these claims made by the special rapporteurs to the UN were misplaced, and the EIA notification never meant to violate any such rights of people. The report released was merely a draft, and further amendments to it would soon be made, and the notification would be re-released. Furthermore, the government also ensured that any industry or a project not taking prior authorization from the public would be punished as per the law. All the projects on board would be considered only after a thorough analysis of their merit.
Thus, the drafted EIA awaits further amendments from the government.