The Wire: “Environment Ministry to Bend Over Backwards to Whitelist Illicit Projects”

The following is an excerpt from an article published on The Wire’s online site on March 22, 2017 by Manju Menon and Kanchi Kohli, CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program staff members in New Dehli, India.

On March 14, 2017, [India’s] environment ministry issued a notification that is a remarkable show of partisan support to projects that have been illegally operating without environmental approvals. The document lays out a process by which illegal industrial units, mines, ports or hydro projects can be granted clearance and “brought into compliance” within the next six months.

The present government has reaped great benefits from the trust of millions in its talk and extreme measures to root out corruption. But this move to notify the grant of post-facto approvals is the opposite of what demonetisation claimed to be. By bringing in this process, the government has shown that it will bend backwards to give a clean chit to units or operations that have been engaged in illegitimate ventures.

It is important to note that these units up and running without environmental approvals are not small ones that are ignorant of the law. On the contrary, this notification could also benefit several large corporations, industrial houses and real estate projects that are in the habit of treating environmental regulations as an unnecessary encumbrance upon them. They have violated laws with impunity because of their status as above the law in this development-obsessed country. They are also guaranteed condonation by governments because of their mutual need of one another.

To view the full article on The Wire’s website, click here.

March 23, 2017 | Manju Menon and Kanchi Kohli

Region: India