Guwahati: The Assam State NSUI on Monday launched a statewide protest against the “Draft Environmental Impact Assessment 2020”. Thousands of NSUI members and students across the state sent emails to the Secretary of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change asking for necessary amendments to the draft legislation. Specifically, the clause of “post-facto clearance” which is a major point of contention for the Organization in the Draft.
NSUI expressed that the proposed EIA allows for post-facto clearances, wherein polluting units can be established and operated after paying a small fee, thereby incentivizing further degradation. It permits industrial units operating illegally in violation of the EIA and Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 to become legal by the way of a simple procedure and payment of a negligible penalty. Also, the EIA draft 2020 speaks about linear projects in border areas. It defines “border area “as an area falling within a hundred-kilometer aerial distance from the line of actual control with bordering countries of India. It means almost entire North East India will be covered under it where there will be almost no public consultation for projects. Forest could be cleared; coal mines would be authorized and chemical plants would be built without any public consultation. The North East area is the most ecologically sensitive area of the country and such legislation brings it under direct threat of losing its ecological and biological diversity.
NSUI Assam State President Jyotibikash Changmai stated “The new Environment Impact Assessment 2020 Draft is a death knell for the people of Assam. Everything we stood up for, in the past few months, from the movement to save the forests of Dihing Patkai to the oil mining catastrophe in Baghjan would become meaningless after the new legislation. At present, the whole civic society of Assam is shocked on how the BJP Government violated Environmental norms to sanction such illegal projects. The new draft gives them immunity for future actions where they can violate the diversity of Assam in the name of national interest. The student community of Assam stands for its protection, and hence, NSUI has launched a statewide movement where students from every college and university of Assam are sending emails to Central Ministry. The entire community wants to roll back this anti-Assamese legislation which would destroy the future of its people brought in midst of COVID19 crisis to avoid public engagement on the issue.”
The state unit of NSUI also asked the people to come forward and send emails to the government for the withdrawal of the EIA draft notification 2020.