A few weeks ago, MoEFCC Chairman Prakash Javadekar demonstrated how to make your own mask. Here he demonstrates how to make your own blinders!
At a time when epidemics are being traced back and linked to environmental destruction worldwide, one would expect world leaders to make conservation central to governance. The Indian government unfortunately, has been doing quite the contrary. The exploitation of the country's natural reserves is being intensified. The draft EIA notification that the MoEF put out last month seeks to do away with public hearings for projects like dams, mines, airports etc., and legitimizes environmental violations by such projects (details here). Moreover, the government has also been using the lockdown period to host video conferences to grant environment clearance to projects in the pipeline, without any scope of questioning or objection. If this is the government we have chosen, it is also our responsibility to ensure responsibility and accountability from it. What we must demand is that environmentally sensitive projects may not be cleared over virtual meetings without following due process , and that projects for which there is strong opposition from resident communities (for example the Dibang Etalin Dam) be scrapped for greener alternatives. Yet another such project is the proposal to mine in Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve in Assam.
Sign the petition to save Dibang Valley on Conservation India here. If you represent an institute, university or organization, get your board to email the ministry voicing objection to the draft EIA notification. The MoEF has a website dedicated to forest clearance. Let us stay vigilant, check this website regularly for the status of such projects, and write letters and emails to the ministry to keep it on its toes. Let us not wear the blinders that the government wants us to wear.
Comic from my column with The Hindu's Sunday Magazine.