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NGO PRAHAR calls for fast track implementation of EIA 2020 for sustainable environment protection

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PRAHAR (Public Response Against Helplessness and Action for Redressal), an NGO dedicated to finding solutions for problems of the helpless has congratulated Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) for coming up with the new progressive draft of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 and has urged the government of India to fast track its approval and implementation.
EIA 2020 if approved in its current form will address the three cornerstones of development – environmental and ecological protection, social development and economic progress, and thereby help accelerate livelihood creation at a time when India needs more jobs and fast. EIA 2020 is aimed at making the environment impact assessment for the proposed projects more transparent and expedient through the implementation of an online system, further delegations, rationalization, standardization of the process, etc. It will also help in streamlining the process, decentralization, and implementation of various orders of courts and the National Green Tribunal.
Welcoming the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020, Abhay Raj Mishra, President and National Convenor, PRAHAR said, “The new draft Environmental Impact Assessment or EIA 2020 notification is a progressive move. It is particularly encouraging to see that this law gives due importance to a knowledge-based project appraisal process. EIA 2020 can be a game-changer as it gives a deserving position to subject matter experts in clearance of mega projects, thereby paving the way for the transformation of India into a knowledge-based economy.”
He further added, “EIA 2020 seeks to consolidate the incremental amendments to the 2006 notification and operationalise decisions of various courts by establishing a predictable regulatory regime for environmental clearance. This can give much-needed push to livelihood creation at a time when the world is dealing with its worst economic slump. At PRAHAR, we are positive that the proposed changes in the EIA 2020 will bring development to the Aspirational Districts of the country without compromising on the flora and fauna of the region.”
The salient feature of EIA 2020 is the introduction of the concept of economic and social management plan (ESMP). This will ensure that projects which are not conducive to environmental goals do not get clearance in the first place rather than being allowed to start only to be stopped in between. It relies on the expertise of subject matter experts in granting project clearance and will curtail malpractices in the environment clearance process.
The other significant improvements in EIA 2020 include:
– Prudent practices of penal provisions on violation and strong annual compliances
– Division of the projects among district, state, and national level to ensure that the entire administration system is justly utilized without anyone being overburdened
– Increase in the number of stages for Prior Environmental Clearance from 4 to 6 to ensure protection of environment at each and every stage.
It builds on EIA 2006 which has helped in realizing necessary environmental safeguards by assessing environment impact due to the proposed projects at the planning stages itself.

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