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What is the EIA ?

What is EIA?

The EIA stands for The Environmental Impact Assessment, this is a study done which shows you the negative aspect on the environment due to a new industrial/ infrastructural construction being built upon the site. This falls under the Environment Protection Act of 1986. The types of construction under EIA are:

  • Coal and other mineral Mining Sites

  • Hydro, Nuclear and Thermal Power sites

  • Real Estate Projects

  • Infrastructure Projects

  • Industrial Projects

The idea behind EIA is that it'll prevent proposed projects from being built without proper oversight, this is aimed to minimise threats to the environment, the EIA study finds out various possible models and then selects the one which is both economically beneficial and environmentally. It is also important to note that EIA is not only restricted to the nation but is a formal process conducted in more than 100 countries, India adopted this practice in 1994.

Why the commotion around the new draft?

In 2020 a new draft was fabricated this was known as the EIA Draft of 2020, which has widely been criticised by experts since it has entered the public domain. This draft allows something known as "post facto clearance" which basically means that any project without environmental safeguards and clearances could carry out operations, the draft also has a new list which shows the projects which are exempted from going through the assessment, these include:

  • Any project that the Government categorises as strategic; once a project has been given this title it is not subject to placing details of the project within the public domain.

  • All inline waterways and national highways have also been exempted.

  • Construction Projects up to 1, 50, 000 Square Metres.

A new provision has also been made which states that no individual can lodge a violation complaint but that power solely rests with Government personnel.

The fact that there is next to no transparency given by the new draft worries the public and a general consensus has been formed against it.

Recently public sites were also shut down under UAPA which were boldly opposing the new draft. When questioned how was opposing the draft a threat to national security the answer which came said that it was a mistake, this only led to more hostility against the draft.

A case for the EIA Draft 2020

Now that we've gone over the horrible aspects of the EIA Draft let's look at the positive side of things, with the passage of this draft we will see faster construction being done which was earlier delayed due to the EIA process, a public consultation won't be a thing so that may also help the cause of building things faster. But the biggest reason to support the Draft is that it may boost economical activity.

A case against the EIA Draft 2020

Now that we've heard why its good let's look at more reasons why it's bad, the draft is bound to help environmental damage, the public will be given no information as to what's happening which will only add to the loss of trust in the Government, a public consultation wouldn't happen for most projects which will lead to industrialists getting their way at the expense of not only the environment but also the people living nearby. The draft is bound to aid to the point of no return against adverse climate change and the biggest factor is even though it may boost economic activity if not executed properly there will be a huge setback for the entire economy.

Till Next time :

~Aadi Sardesai


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