Former bureaucrat and member of National Advisory Council N.C. Saxena’s report on violations in mining project for Vedanta Resources triggered the rejection of environment clearance. Excerpts of an interview with him:
Your reaction to Environment minister’s decision?
Minister’s decision is welcome as they acted on the report. It shows that the law of the land can be implemented in case of environment violations. The decision should prompt the government to ensure that the laws are implemented.
Message from the decision?
The decision implies that the law is not for fools. To me, it makes it clear that the laws are not for rich to earn and the poor to lose. The tribal people can now believe in law of the land. I hope that the state government enforce the Forest Rights Act (FRA) by notifying community rights.
You have been accused of behaving like an activist?
It is a compliment not a derogatory remark. Technically, I am not a government official anymore. I had always stood for development, leading to progress of local people.
Orissa govt has said that all the issued raised by you in the report had been settled by the SC in 2008. Your reaction?
The SC never said ignore the law. FRA was never discussed by the court, as it became applicable after the judgment. The provisions of FRA and other environment laws were not met which we highlighted in the report. The provisions of FRA for acquiring forestland for any project, is mandatory as per the law.
Will the decision change how environment laws are implemented ?
There is a need to discuss laws in Parliament and make them environment friendly.