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'Those Harmed by Environmental Violations Can't Complain?' Jairam Ramesh Says EIA 2020 is Fascist, Anti-Democratic

File photo of Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

File photo of Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

Jairam Ramesh said there was no place for local communities, NGOs, civil society bodies, social activists or political representatives and described it as "deeply anti-democratic".

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Thursday termed the draft environment impact assessment (EIA) notification, 2020, "anti-democratic" and "fascist in nature".

Speaking at a webinar organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies (RGIDS), he said the draft has exempted a large number of projects from environment impact assessment.

"This draft environment notification is very anti-democratic. It's fascist in nature. It says the people affected by projects cannot complain to the government about environmental violations. Only government departments, government agencies can bring violation of environmental laws to the notice of the central government," Ramesh said.

He said there was no place for local communities, NGOs, civil society bodies, social activists or political representatives and described it as "deeply anti-democratic".

The draft EIA notification, which involves the procedure of issuing environmental clearances to various projects, was issued by the Environment Ministry in March this year and has received thousands of suggestions from the public.

Ramesh said the draft has reduced the period for public hearings on objections which was anti-democratic. "Large number of projects have been exempted from the environment impact assessment... The draft EIA notification is both anti-health and anti-democracy," Ramesh said.

Former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy, who also took part in the webinar, demanded that the draft be published in all local languages and the opinion of the public be sought in the matter.

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