Experts Flag Concerns On EIA Notification

  • A group of Special Rapporteurs to the United Nations has written to the Centre expressing concern over the proposed Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 2020 and sought the government’s response on how the provisions of the notification were consonant with India’s “obligations under international law”.
  • Special Rapporteurs are independent experts working on behalf of the United Nations.
  • They work on a country or a thematic mandate specified by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
  • In their letter, the five experts say the proposed notification appeared to have clauses that obstructed people’s rights to a safe, clean and healthy environment.
  • These were the clauses that exempted several large industries and projects from public consultation — as part of the environment impact assessment process — and the rapporteurs argued that the exemptions were unwarranted, particularly when there was a serious gas leak from (LG Polymers) chemical plant in Visakhapatnam on May 12.
  • The proposed EIA was still a draft and issued for public consultation and there were several imperfections in the existing EIA that were to be amended in the new notification.
  • With regard to post facto clearances, the violation of not taking prior approval would be “punished as per law” and projects that were already running would be considered only on merit.