New Delhi: Those raising objections to the draft environment impact assessment (EIA) notification are the same people who took "big decisions without consultations" when they were in power, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday, hitting out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Gandhi had on Sunday tweeted that the draft EIA was a "disaster" and urged people to protest against it.
Speaking to the media after an event to celebrate World Elephant Day, Javadekar said, "Saw reaction of some leaders demanding protest against the EIA draft. How can they protest against the draft? It is not a final notification. It was kept for public consultation for 150 days because of COVID-19. Otherwise it is only 60 days as per rules." "We have received thousands of suggestions which we welcome. We will consider those suggestions. Then take a call and come out with final draft. So people jumping just on the draft is not fair practice. Those who want to now protest, during their regime took many of the big decisions without consultations. It is unnecessary and premature. I have mentioned it in my letter to (Congress leader and former Union minister) Jairam Ramesh," the minister told reporters.
"It (Gandhi's comment on EIA and demanding protests) is unnecessary and premature," Javadekar said.
Gandhi had on Sunday tweeted, "This EIA 2020 draft is a disaster. It seeks to silence the voice of communities who will be directly impacted by the environmental degradation it unleashes. I urge every Indian to rise up and protest against it." The Congress leader has also called for its withdrawal, saying it will lead to further environmental destruction and looting.
"EIA 2020 draft must be withdrawn to stop the loot of the nation and environmental destruction," Gandhi said.
The draft EIA notification has drawn flak from environmentalists, students, youth wings and NGOs across India who claimed it diluted the environmental clearance procedure.