Government’s crackdown renews interest in draft EIA 2020 – Mongabay

arlier this year, the Indian government came out with the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 2020 seeking to overhaul the norms governing the environment clearance process for industrial projects. The draft came under severe criticism with experts and environmentalists alleging that it seeks to dilute the present laws. To ensure wider public participation and consultation before the changes are made, several groups started campaigns including mass emails to the environment ministry. Earlier this month, a complaint from India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to the Delhi police against mass emails to his inbox led to blocking of websites of three environment collectives that were seeking wider consultations and scrapping of a proposed dilution in country’s environmental norms. While the move was criticised for alleged digital censorship, it also ended up reigniting the public’s interest in the issue. Following the minister’s complaint, the Cyber Crime Unit of the Delhi Police issued a notice on July 8 to Fridays For Future India, under India’s anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The use of this law in this particular case drew criticism for its severity. The police then claimed inadvertent error and withdrew that notice on July 16. Currently, the websites have been unblocked, though individual claims about certain internet service providers that are continuing to block the websites still prevail.  Read more

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