Chhattisgarh opposes draft EIA notification as it 'ignores sensitivity required for conservation of environment'
Bhupesh Baghel in his communication to Prakash Javadekar, stated that the draft completely ignored the sensitivity required for the conservation of the environment.
RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh government conveyed its strong objections to the draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2020 citing that it overrides the statutory protections granted under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA).
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in his communication to Prakash Javadekar, the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, stated that the draft completely ignored the sensitivity required for the conservation of the environment and achieving the objective on sustainable development.
“Chhattisgarh is predominantly a tribal state and has 44 per cent forest cover. And the vast areas of the state been included in the "Scheduled Area' under Article 244(1) of the Constitution, providing protection to these Areas against such laws derogatory to the land rights of the indigenous population. The EIA Notification, 2020 should, therefore, be in consonance with the rights of the tribals and the panchayat,” Baghel asserted.
He further stated that Section 4 of the PESA Act empowers a Gram Sabha/Panchayat to prevent alienation of land and to approve plans and projects but the draft EIA overlooks such mandate by not making it mandatory for the project proponent to get any such approval from the Gram Panchayat.
“It grossly violates and undermines the rights and interest of village panchayats in scheduled and tribal areas. And exempting a large number of projects from the public hearing, the draft EIA along with granting of post-facto clearances will adversely affect the rights of the forest dwellers to conserve, manage and protect forests,” he added and sought that the definition of industrial estates be amended appropriately.
The draft EIA Notification states that leveling of the land without any tree felling and geo-technical investigation does not require prior environment clearance.
Baghel argued that leveling of project sites may have an impact on topography - mountain slopes can cause soil erosion and can trigger landslides.
"Further, geo-technical investigation for roads, hydropower projects and other projects which involves heavy construction activities may have a serious impact on the environment. Such activities should, therefore, be brought within the ambit of the EIA Notification, the CM averred.