In a tweet replete with jibes at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called for withdrawal of the new Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 draft to stop “LootOfTheNation”. A day earlier he had said the draft provisions are “dangerous” and if notified, the long term consequences will be “catastrophic”.
The draft EIA notification, which involves procedure of issuing environmental clearances to various projects, was issued by the Environment Ministry in March this year and public suggestions were invited.
Using PM Modi’s catchphrase “Mitron”, Mr Gandhi’s Hindi tweet said the draft was yet another example of the lengths to which the BJP government would go for its “suit-boot” friends – a reference often employed by the Congress to criticise BJP-led Central government decisions seen as anti-poor and meant to safeguard interests of industrialists.
EIA2020 ड्राफ़्ट का मक़सद साफ़ है – #LootOfTheNation
यह एक और ख़ौफ़नाक उदाहरण है कि भाजपा सरकार देश के संसाधन लूटने वाले चुनिंदा सूट-बूट के ‘मित्रों’ के लिए क्या-क्या करती आ रही है।
EIA 2020 draft must be withdrawn to stop #LootOfTheNation and environmental destruction.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 10, 2020
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday urged people to protest the EIA 2020 draft.
In a Facebook post using the hashtag “WithdrawEIA2020”, Mr Gandhi said the idea that Environment Impact Assessment can be given post facto could “unleash widespread environmental destruction and mayhem across India”.
“That is, EIA can be done, after a project has already destroyed the environment,” the former Congress chief said.
“Consider this: according to our “Swachh Bharat” (Clean India) propagating government, if labelled strategic, highly polluting industries such as coal mining and other mineral mining will no longer require Environmental Impact Assessment,” Gandhi said referring to the government auction of 40 coal blocks to make the country “self-reliant” in the face of economic slowdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This will result in the massive hacking down of trees, leading to the destruction of habitats of thousands of endangered species… I urge every Indian to rise up and protest against it. A fight to protect our environment cuts across political and ideological beliefs. If nothing else, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how fragile human life is,” he said.
Gandhi’s criticism of the draft EIA notification came days after Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said it does not relax the process of public hearing, but aims to make it more meaningful.