BENGALURU: At least 1,600 students from across the country, over 20 law college student councils and legal aid clinics, 150 independent law students, and at least 70 other student councils and clubs have written to the environment ministry, seeking withdrawal of the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020.
The 22-page detailed letter, drafted by the Legal Aid Clinic of Jindal Global Law School, contains suggestions for each sub-clause of the draft EIA 2020 that the students oppose. The movement, coordinated by The Yugma Network and Youth For Swaraj, includes student groups from colleges such as National Law University, Delhi, National Law School of India University, National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, National Law University, The National University of Advanced Legal Studies, among others.
“On a comparative analysis of EIA regulations in India with countries of the European Union and USA, India deliberately limits involvement of public and government agencies in the initial stages and has no provision to account for landscape and visual impacts of a project,” the students have written. They suggest that India implement an environmental policy that follows Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration -- the right to freely access information on environmental quality and problems, right to participate meaningfully in decision-making, and seek enforcement of environmental laws or compensation for harm.
Some of their suggestions include flexible time period for public consultation with a minimum of 60 days, consultation method that requires a participatory approach, and equal opportunity for every stakeholder to voice opinion. “We shot off the first letter, signed by at least 60 student unions from across the country, to the ministry on June 25. As it did not evoke a response, we sent another letter to the Prime Minister’s Office three days later. We also filed multiple complaints on MyGov portal, but all were rejected,” they alleged.