kerala's Left-dominated Legislative Assembly adopted a resolution on July 11 urging the Centre to withdraw the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification of 2006. The resolution proposed by cpi member Rajaji M Thomas says the notification is "against the interest of Kerala state, nature, environment and people." (see interview)
The notification introduced by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (moef ) on September 14, 2006, replacing the earlier rules of 1994, had been criticized as an attempt to weaken the environmental regulatory system while protecting the builder and industry interests. The notification gives local bodies little say in projects.
"The state should have taken a firm stand against the notification in 2006 when it was issued," said B S Vijayan, chairman, State Biodiversity Board. He, however, added that the resolution should be welcomed because the notification gave sweeping powers to states that could be misused.
A Latha of Chalakkudi Puzha Samrakshana Samithi, a Thrissur-based ngo leading agitations against the controversial Athirappally Hydro Electric Project, said, "What's important is the commitment of the state in conserving the environment and not passing resolutions. The assembly had passed a resolution against the Pampa-Achankovil-Vypar River linking project in 2003 but feasibility studies are still going on."
Latha points out Kerala's pro-investment policies often result in violation of environmental regulations.
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