To Expert Appraisal Committee (ECA) for Industry 1, Member Secretary, Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), MoEF & CC Member Secretary, Deputy conservator of forests, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka & Chairperson, Karnataka State Board for Wildlife , National Board for Wildlife, Shri Prakash Javdekar and Deputy Conservator of forest, BBMP
This has been one of the most devastating and trying years in contemporary human history. India as a ‘Nation’ is presently navigating through an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Individuals and citizens groups are actively trying to help their fellow citizens in fighting the pandemic. Only the privileged few of us are paying attention to environmental and climate change issues.
In 2020 several infrastructure projects through forests and wildlife areas were cleared via virtual meetings of Committees . The Draft EIA 2020 was also introduced during nation-wide lockdown and a global pandemic and the Government expected reasoned public opinion and comments on the new law. As official records suggest, the Ministry of Environment has received more than 2 million emails from concerned citizens registering their comments on the same.
The manner and conduct of such decision making authorities were widely criticised by environmentalists, civil society groups, think tanks, etc. Questions were even raised on ‘due diligence’ and lack of credibility.
Under the current 14 day state wide curfew, citizens are locked inside their homes fearing for their life, our judicial system is burdened with ‘most urgent’ covid 19 relief seeking cases. The environment has taken a backseat for citizens and judiciary alike.
Rights of citizens are curtailed, movement is limited. Currently citizens do not have access to any environmental redressal forums be it courts or tribunals.
Therefore it’s important to ensure no environmentally destructive decision is taken at the moment. We request:
All scheduled/planned virtual meetings of Environmental decision making Committees, Authorities and Boards for grant of environment/forest/wildlife clearances are cancelled during the Covid 19 second wave crisis.
Virtual public hearings for major infrastructure projects are cancelled.
The status quo on existing environmental protection laws and policies are maintained until normalcy is returned.