INDIA UPDATEPublished by MAC on 2006-02-02
2nd February 200
Meet to highlight govt's violation of eco norms
by G JAGANNATH / News Today, Chennai
2nd February 2006
Community and tribal representatives from across the country held a public meeting today in the Perambalur constituency of Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest A Raja to make the public aware of the violation of environmental norms and human rights by both the Central and State governments while sanctioning industrial projects.
The meeting was organised by the Campaign for Environmental Justice in India (CEJ-I), a coalition of public interest organisations and individuals concerned, about the violations of environmental norms and human rights.
Community and tribal representatives from Orissa, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu addressed the public on 'Violations and Dilutions of Environmental Laws by Central and State Governments: Recommendations for a Justice-centred Policy', Nityanand Jayaraman, environmentalist, told News Today.
The campaign is opposed to the proposed National Environment Policy and the dilutions to the Environmental Impact Notification (EIA) by the Ministry of Environment and Forests because it limits public participation and had been revised solely to expedite industrial investments, he said.
On 14 November, 2005 about 200 representatives of the campaign staged a sit-in dharna in front of the office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests in New Delhi demanding the revocation of the proposed amendments to environmental laws, he noted.
At the meeting in Perambalur, the delegations narrated instances of State oppression of communities opposed to industrialisation around the country, including: the January 2 killing of more than 12 Adivasis opposed to the forcible takeover of their lands; the harassment of Adivasis and Dalit communities opposed to Jindal Steel's attempts to privatise a river in Chattisgarh; the arrest of community leaders opposed to the Polavaram Dam in Andhra Pradesh; the cases of Centre-State collusion with Corporations in condoning environmental violations in Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala.
'CEJ-I appealed to residents of Perambalur to hold their MP A Raja accountable and demand that he revoke the anti-people Environmental Policy and draft EIA Notification, and initiate a participatory process to strengthen environmental regulations in the country', Nityanand Jayaraman said.
Speakers from the various States included: Prafulla Samantra, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Orissa; Lata Anantha, Chalakudy Puzha Samarakshana Samiti; Leo Saldanha of the Environment Support Group, Karnataka; Professor Fatima Babu of Veeranganai Women's Movement, Tuticorin; Rajesh Tripathy of Jan Chetana, Chattisgarh; and Maki Reddy of the Rythu Koolie Sewa Sangam, Andhra Pradesh; and Dr Channa Basavaiah of Jana Vignana Vedike, Andhra Pradesh; and Advocate T Mohan of Chennai.