BENGALURU: Though the Karnataka High Court has paved the way for public participation and filing of objections on the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), 2020 notification, it is yet to be made available in Kannada and other vernacular languages, including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and others. Activists say once the translated version is available, the MoEF&CC will have to provide 60 days’ time for filing of public objections from the date of publication.
Unlike Karnataka, public figures and celebrities in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Kerala have opposed the controversial amendment, and are filing their objections. However, activists here say that apart from environmentalists, high-profile personalities in Karnataka have shown no interest.
Currently, objections being filed by activists, wildlife groups, environmental groups, advocacy and social organisations run into thousands of comments/opinions to the MoEF&CC. The public can file their objections till September 7.
The EIA, 2020 notification, has drawn the attention of political leaders too, such as Rahul Gandhi, Jayaram Ramesh, Aditya Thackeray and others. And, due to the widespread opposition, activists hope the MoEF&CC will drop the amendment.
Joseph Hoover, United Conservation Movement (which filed the PIL on EIA, 2020) said, “Many Tamil stars like Karthi, Vijay and Parvathy Thiruvothu have expressed concerns about the draconian draft, but surprisingly, celebrities from the Kannada film industry have not spoken a word about it.” Calling for scrapping of EIA 2020, activists urge citizens to wake up and recognise the role of nature for survival.
Environmental experts said that even in its present form, the EIA, 2006 has not stopped state governments from taking up several destructive projects by diverting thousands of hectares of reserve and state forests, and also within wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. This includes diversion of large quantities of fresh water to industrial and commercial projects, setting/expansion of coal power plants/chemical plants and nuclear power plants, across the country.
A forest official stressed that the EIA has failed to protect forests and PAs, as well as other significant natural resources. Now, many essential projects won’t get clearance if the amendment is passed, he said.