Cong's ‘disastrous track record’ jibe on PM Modi's COP28 speech in Dubai
Congress hit out at PM Modi over his statement saying India has struck a great balance between ecology and economy.
The Congress on Friday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his address at the COP28 address in Dubai.
Quoting the prime minister over his statement saying that India has struck a great balance between ecology and economy, the Congress in a statement called his remark as ‘maximum global talk, minimum local walk’.
Accusing the Centre of exploiting forests and handing them over to ‘chosen corporates’, the Congress claimed that the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 had been made ‘completely hollow’ with an amendment, thereby doing away with provisions for the consent of forest communities and with requirements for forest clearance in vast areas.
“Forests can now be cleared without consulting those who live there, and consent from gram sabhas is no longer needed to use forest land,” the statement shared by Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh read, also claiming that the Forest Rights Act of 2006 had been weakened.
“When the world was dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Modi government passed 39 amendments to rules under the Environment Protection Act. Illegal and regressive changes were made to relax environmental protections-pollution control measures were removed, penalties for violations were lowered, criminal prosecutions were stripped, and public notice requirements were waived,” the statement added.
The Congress alleged that the Environmental Impact Assessment norms had been continuously weakened since 2020. The timelines for hydro and mining project clearances have been arbitrarily extended, the Congress also alleged, adding that major project types had been removed from central government clearance, public hearings and participation had been skipped.
The Congress further alleged the ‘consistent’ weakening of the National Green Tribunal since 2014. “Vacancies have been left open for years, reaching 70 per cent overall in 2018 and leading to the shutdown of the Chennai NGT bench. The Madras high court had to step in in 2019 and instruct the Union government to fill vacancies. Bureaucrats, rather than scientific experts, are being appointed,” it added.
Invoking the air pollution menace, the Congress alleged the Centre had been ‘ineffective’ in dealing with worsening air pollution.
“How can anyone take what the Prime Minister says globally on environment seriously in light of his disastrous track record in India?” the Congress added.