New Delhi: Climate activist Disha Ravi on Saturday claimed that the government is “diluting” environmental laws by proposing amendments to the Forest Conservation Act and this “trend” started with the changes made in Environment Impact Assessment Rules last year. Was.
The 23-year-old activist, who was arrested in February in connection with a ‘toolkit’ on farmer protests, also said that indigenous people, tribals and environmental defenders are hurt every day for doing the same work that will protect all .
“People often say that open forest cover is increasing. However, if you look closely at that data, you will see that the definition of ‘open forest cover’ is so vague that it includes 30-40 trees planted together. A park. This ambiguity in the definition allows data to be manipulated,” Ravi said during a discussion at the India Today Conclave.
“With the proposed reforms in the Forest Conservation Act (FCA), 1980, the government is weakening India’s environmental laws. Many projects will not require the necessary approvals at first. This trend began with changes made in environmental impact. There was assessment rule last year,” he said.
The Center sent a copy of the proposed amendments to the FCA to all states on October 2, seeking their objections and suggestions within 15 days.
As per the proposal, land acquired before 1980 by the ministries of railways and roads but covered by forest will no longer be treated as forest.
The Center has also proposed to do away with the requirement of prior government approval for border infrastructure development on forest lands, as it causes delays in the implementation of important projects.
Ravi said the fact that indigenous people, tribals and environmental defenders “are hurt every day to do the work that will protect all of us, worries me”.
“An example is Hideme Markram, a tribal woman, who was arrested this year on Women’s Day for protesting against coal mines, which we all know is bad for us for many reasons,” he said.
According to reports, the Chhattisgarh Police had arrested 30-year-old Markram from Dantewada district for being a member of the banned organization CPI (Maoist).
Ravi said she got involved in environmental conservation because her grandparents, who were farmers, faced water crisis.
“My mom actually carried water before I went to school,” she said.
“Environmental activism is about humans because we are all part of it. This earth is protecting itself,” the activist said.