Recently the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has circulated a draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification for public comments. The last date for comments is 14th November 2005. The new draft significantly dilutes the earlier EIA notification, and is designed with a view to expedite environmental clearance rather than emphasize the thoroughness of environmental appraisal of projects. It also significantly limits public participation and paves the way for large-scale appropriation/degradation of natural resources by corporate bodies.
NGOs, public interest collectives, community groups and individuals around the country are planning to congregate in Delhi under the banner of MOEF CHALO! on 13-14 November, 2005, to challenge the draft EIA notification, and voice their protest against MoEFs lack of transparency and violations of the environmental clearance process.
The coordination is being carried out by a collective of organisations and individuals across the country, who have been tracking MoEF’s clearance processes with a view to strengthening the role of communities and public-spirited entities to influence it.
On 13th November 2005 a public hearing is planned with a panel of eminent people, including representatives from the National Advisory Council, Planning Commission along with some representatives of political parties and senior journalists. Participants from different states will depose in front of the panel specifically on the human-rights and environmental violations experienced by them with a focus on the violation or inadequacies of the Environmental Clearance process. The depositions will be from various sectors including river valley projects, mining, industrial projects, infrastructure etc.
On the 14th November 2005, there will public action and a small delegation will meet with A.Raja, Minister, Environment and Forests to submit a joint memorandum, highlighting the concerns and objections.
More than 300 people from around the country are expected to participate in the 13-14th programmes.