Aranmula: 'Environment Impact Assessment Incorrect'
KOCHI: In a sharp criticism against the promoters of the proposed airport at Aranmula, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) termed the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) submitted by them as ‘inadequate, incorrect, misleading and fraudulent’.
The NGT made this observation while announcing the judgment on an appeal filed against the Environment Clearance (EC ) given for the project by the MoEF. The NGT also attacked the promoters for violating the Right to Life, guaranteed by Article-21 of the Constitution of India. The promoters have provided false information about the number of persons likely to be displaced as a result of the implementation of the airport project. The EIA report is prepared based on a woefully inadequate study on the impact of the project in this regard. The EIA report has not provided any details regarding the sociological impact of the project, and environmental clearance was granted without even assessing this aspect, says the judgment made public by the NGT on its website. The 4th respondent (Promoters) has willfully concealed the fact that a large number of people would have to be evacuated from the area to facilitate the project, and did not address the rehabilitation and relocation issues involved with such a large displacement. The evacuation of the people who are historically, culturally and economically connected with this region will be the violation of the Right to Life as guaranteed by the Constitution, says the NGT.
It also criticised the Central Government for blindly granting clearance, without even ascertaining the extent of the project boundaries claimed by the the promoters of the controversial project, the KGS Group.
We are of the view that the ‘conditions’ mentioned in the environment clearance are typical examples of the (in) famous ‘copy and paste’ from the list of conditions appended to the EC of some other project, without any application of mind and ‘non-verification’ of the document before placing the same for signature by the authorised signatory, it says. The NGT directs the MoEF ‘to take steps to restore the sanctity of important documents such as the EC’.
It wonders whether there is no information in the EIA that would allow one to independently verify where exactly the boundary of the airport would be, and where the key components of the airport, such as the runway, would be located. The NGT on Wednesday had impugned the EC and restrained the KGS Group from setting up the airport on the ground that the EIA had not been prepared by an accredited agency and the public hearing conducted for the purpose of setting up the airport was conducted in a clandestine and undemocratic manner, in violation of the EIA Notification of 2006.