Draft EIA notification not yet finalized, says Prakash Javadekar
The Centre has not yet finalised the draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2020 (EIA), Union environment minister said Thursday.
In a letter to Congress MP Jairam Ramesh who heads the Parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, environment, forest and climate change, Javedekar wrote, “It has not been finalised yet as public consultation is underway.”
Earlier in the day, Ramesh had written to the minister saying, “The Parliamentary Standing Committee has been inundated with requests from various stakeholders to give them an opportunity for presenting their views. I am sure you will agree that this is both desirable and necessary. Further meetings of the committee will call non-official witnesses. The Notification may, therefore, be kept in abeyance till the committee completes its deliberations.”
Last month, Javadekar had termed Ramesh’s suggestions as “unfounded” and based on “misinterpretation” after the Congress leader raised strong objections to the draft EIA notification.
On Thursday, Javadekar maintained that there is no danger that public hearing will be excluded.
“Draft environment impact assessment notification does not relax the process of public hearing, but makes it more meaningful,” the minister wrote.
He also said that the provision of ex-post facto approval in draft EIA will bring violators under regulatory regime by imposing heavy penalties.
“Every project expansion will require submission of an environmental management plan,” Javadekar said in his reply to Ramesh.
The Union environment ministry plans to do away with conditions for environmental clearances that cannot be monitored and make the approval time for projects as short as possible.
Government documents show that the current auction of coal mines across the country would open up pristine and contiguous forests for mining in parts of central India.
In June, the Chhattisgarh government asked the Centre not to allow auction of coal blocks which fall under Hasdeo Arand, Lemru elephant reserve and the Mand river catchment area which are biodiversity-rich forests.
Five of the nine coal blocks that will be up for auction for commercial mining fall under this area which includes Morga -2, Morga (South), Madanpur north, Shyang and Fathehpur (east).