Guwahati: In a letter to Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Assam’s Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia explained his objections to the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
This was the latest in the exchange of letters between the two on the draft EIA.
The Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change had called for suggestions and objections to the draft by August 10, after which it is to be notified.
Saikia in his letter said, “This proposed law is objectionable primarily because it paves the way for ‘posto-facto’ clearance of projects in eco-sensitive zones and sidesteps input by communities likely to be adversely affected by such projects. In fact, private companies concerned can even prepare their own EIA reports by engaging private consultants. This is a travesty of natural justice and a body-blow to the rights of indigenous people over their own land.”
He further explained why the proposed law can have an adverse impact on the entire region. “This is extremely dangerous for Assam and the northeast in general in view of the damage which has been already caused by mining/drilling operations in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park/Biosphere Reserve and Dehing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary areas.”
In the letter, the senior Congress leader also mentioned about how some illegal construction by powerful persons in the animals corridors of Kaziranga National Park were not evicted despite court orders.
Saikia said, “I would like to request you afresh to scrap the Draft EIA Notification, 2020 in its present form. Also, the ongoing drilling and mining operations are stopped forthwith in the eco-sensitive zones of Assam and direct the state government to follow court orders.”