Withdrawal of the Draft 2020 EIA Notification (clauses exempting EIA for certain projects)

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Dear Sir/Ma'am,

It is with extreme displeasure and shock that we tender this petition highlighting the gross step taken in the Draft EIA Notification of 2020, whereby the notification has failed to strike the exact balance between industrial growth and environmental protection especially at such a point of time when even the balance of sustainable development has tilted towards seeking environment protection over economic growth.

It shakes our conscience to know that an important step like the Environment Impact Assessment Report has been stated to be not required for the multitude of important projects listed under category B2 of the 2020 notification. Here, we lay emphasis on the following industries- 

  • Mineral Beneficiation involving physical process and physicochemical processes

  • Pellet plants or agglomeration plants

  • Cement Industries
  • Standalone clinker grinding units
  • All projects of leather production without tanning and located within the notified industrial estates
  • Synthetic rubbers
  • Basic organic chemicals, other synthetic organic chemicals, chemical intermediates, synthetic resins and synthetic adhesives
  • Manufacturing of paints, varnishes, pigments, intermediates (excluding blending / mixing)
  • Ports, harbors, breakwaters and capital dredging (inside and outside the ports or harbors and channels)- all projects on inland waterways
  • Petroleum products and petrochemical based processing including production of carbon black and electrode grade graphite(processes other than cracking & reformation and not covered under the complexes)
  • Offshore and Onshore Oil & Gas including CBM and Shale Gas- all exploration projects.

which have been exempted from carrying out the EIA process either because they are small or medium enterprises or either because they are simply exploration projects and have the after effect of generating a strong economy. even most of these industries have been exempted from seeking a prior approval from the Appraisal Committee as mentioned in the Sch. I of the notification. 

They have been asked to carry out the Environment Management Plan, which is not even a deciding step as to whether the industry in a given location can have any substantial harm on the environment.

While it is needless to reiterate the importance of EIA as has been highlighted in the Rio Declaration itself, to which India is a party too, it is also true that in the name of bolstering the economy, such a step can have an irreversible impact on the environment.

Suggestion- We agree that the post-Covid situation and the national lockdown phase has left multitude of industries out of business and it is time to bring Indian Economy back on its feet, but the same should not be done by increasing their social cost manifold. Hence, we suggest the creation of a voluntary or government regulated body which can carry out the EIA of such industries instead of burdening the companies themselves, by giving the body optimum private representation, and representation from the companies concerned in every EIA conducted, so that such an essential step is not skipped, costing the lives of innocent millions!

Hoping to see a better future ahead!

Thank You.