MUMBAI: Environment minister Aditya Thackeray has called for a re-evaluation of the Centres draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020. The draft, he said, undermines the nature of co-operative federalism embedded in the Constitution as envisioned by Dr B R Ambedkar.
Thackeray who has been increasingly vocal on environmental issues after becoming minister sent in his objections/suggestions on Tuesday, the last day for such submissions.
In his objections he said the draft EIA proposes to reduce the control of the state government on environmental issues as it empowers the centre to directly appoint state EIA Assessment authorities.
“Instead of decentralisation, such centralisation in environmental clearances would only lead to hurdles or clearances without taking into account local issues. Reducing the state governments control will have direct consequences on environment protection efforts,” reads the letter.
Referring to the Western Ghats, he pointed out that it is amongst the top eight biodiversity hotspots in the world. While large parts of the Western Ghats are Eco Sensitive Areas, the definition of ESAs have been narrowed down to exclude villages, forests, wetlands, coasts etc.
The draft, he said, does not conform to the provisions of the Environment Protection Act. “By diluting the nature and scope of environmental impact of proposed projects and by not considering climate change impact in the decision making process the draft goes against the mandate given to the government to protect the environment.”
The Konkan which is an ecologically sensitive region and home to 28 milion people will be adversely impacted if projects are passed without extensive public deliberations. In recent years, Konkan residents have opposed a refinery project and the Shiv Sena too has supported it.
Since coming to power, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has stayed the work on the metro car shed at Aarey colony, opposed the rail route passing through the Melghat tiger reservoir, as also coal blocks that would adversely impact the wildlife corridors in Vidarbha frequented by tigers.
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