Seminar: Growth Agenda and Reform of Environmental Laws — 20 September, 2014, Chennai

  • On:
    September 20, 2014
  • Timing:
    3:00PM to 3:30PM
  • Location:
    Malcolm Adiseshaiah Auditorium
  • City:
    Chennai 600 020

THE GROWTH AGENDA AND THE REFORM OF ENVIRONMENTAL, LAND AND FOREST LAWS: WHO GAINS? WHO LOSES?

As the Government unfolds its roadmap towards its vision of growth at any cost, early signs offer reason for worry that laws protecting the environment, labour, and land- and resource rights of farmers and forest dwellers will be dismantled or diluted. Since the mid 1990s, when the earlier BJP Government commissioned the Govindarajan Committee on Investment Reforms, environmental laws — particularly, those pertaining to public participation — have been viewed as impediments to growth-led development. Despite that, many other progressive laws have been enacted since then as a result of impressive and tenacious public struggles. These include the Right to Information Act, the Forest Rights Act and the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Public protests stalled the dilution of the Coastal Regulation Notification, 1991, when the Government proposed to notify the Coastal Zone Management Notification. In its place, a tepid and neither-here-nor-there CRZ Notification, 2011 was issued. Will this Notification also be threatened by the Central Government’s package of “reforms” that includes “updating” laws so that they are in line with the growth agenda.

Unless tackled strategically, through a combination of political mobilisation, public protests and legal challenges, the Government may succeed in undoing various keystone laws that offer some protection to environment and people’s rights. The laws that are likely to be tampered with include:

  1. Environmental Protection Act, along with its various rules and notifications including the EIA Notification, the CRZ Notification, the MSW Rules, Wetland Rules etc.
  2. Water Act
  3. Air Act
  4. Forest Conservation Act
  5. Forest Rights Act
  6. Land Acquisition Act, 2013
  7. Right to Information Act, 2005

The proposed meeting will discuss the trends in legal reforms relating to environment, forests and land acquisition, and allow for discussion of strategies and actions to strengthen the protection of the environment and the interests of project affected people and forest dwellers.

For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman, Chennai Solidarity Group: 9444082401, P. Sundararajan, Poovulagin Nanbargal: 9094596699

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