|Eco groups oppose official panel’s stand|
GUWAHATI, Sept 25 - In all, nine leading environment groups of the country have opposed the decisions of the 86th meeting of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s (MoEFCC’s) Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on River Valley Projects to accord clearance to several NE hydel projects and have demanded immediate steps to review the decisions of the said meeting.
The groups, which include SANDRP, Centre for Inland Waters in South Asia, People’s Movement for Subansiri and Brahmaputra Valley, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, River Research Centre, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, ERC Resource and Response Centre, River Basin Friends, Matu Jan Sangathan, alleged that the decision of the 86th meeting to clear the Cumulative Impact and Carrying Capacity Study of Subansiri sub-basin, including its downstream impacts, was the most shocking.
In a memorandum sent to the Chairman and Members of the EAC, they also alleged that the EAC seems to be bending every ecological norm, facts and even legal stipulations to push ahead with every project that the Government wants them to clear. There seems to be no application of mind from the EAC on the proposals. The minutes of the said meeting of the EAC are not even internally consistent.
Moreover, the EAC, despite the item ‘Reduced Time Frame for Cumulative Impact Assessment studies’ not being on its agenda, decided to consider it without any publicly known reason. The site specific baseline study is required for all the seasons; preferably it should be for two years so that seasonal incongruity is taken care of. But instead, the EAC has decided that only monsoon season baseline study is okay. The EAC must immediately review and change this decision, said the signatories of the memorandum.