The draft environment impact assessment (EIA) notification does not relax the process of public hearing, but aims to make it more meaningful, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday told senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.
Javadekar wrote a letter in response to the objections to the draft EIA raised on various occasions by Ramesh, a former environment minister and the current chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, environment and climate change.
In his response, Javadekar also said that Ramesh publicising his objections and letters was "premature" as the public consultations on the draft EIA were underway.
Ramesh, in his letter to the environment minister on July 25, has said that the draft EIA reduces public participation in all steps of the environment clearance process "by lessening the notice period for public hearings and doing away with them for a large category of projects".
Javadekar said, "Provision of ex-post facto approval to bring all violators under regulatory regime by imposing heavy penalties. Companies cannot be in perpetual unregulated status."
"Every project expansion will require submission of Environmental Management Plan. The Draft is not meant for reducing the process of public hearing but making it more meaningful," the Union environment minister wrote.
Sharing a copy of this letter on Twitter, Javadekar also criticised Ramesh for publicising his second letter which said he was still awaiting a response from the environment minister. Ramesh had earlier in the day tweeted a copy of his second letter saying "although I await your detailed reply, I must thank you for acknowledging and accepting the role of standing committees and Parliament."
Hours later, Javadekar responded over a tweet , Today morning only I had sent you a detailed response to your July 25, 2020 letter, which was delivered at your residence office, still you chose to write this letter and make it public through Twitter. "I am sharing today's letter here once again, Javadekar tweeted while sharing a copy of his letter to the former environment minister.