1,000 signatures reached
To: Mr. Narendra Modi - Prime Minister of India
Protect laws that protect people and environment from exploitation
Prime Minister of India,
You are the one chosen by India to represent both, its people and its environment. Stand by the people in this mad rush for natural resources.
This year is being the toughest year for the rights of the environment, forests and the communities dependent on these forests. There has been constant changes, attempts and/or suggestions to dilute legislations that protects nature and people living sustainably along with nature.
Fundamental Duties (Article 51-A )of the constitution: It shall be the duty of every citizen of India – (g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures
Why is this important?
Currently, some of the primary laws that protect the environment, forests and people: The Environment Protection Act, the Forest Conservation Act and Wildlife Protection Act, are under the threat of being diluted. Apart from that there is also news, the National Green Tribunal, the only exclusive green body to provide effective and expeditious disposal of cases related environment protection, conservation of forests and natural resources and giving relief for those who are affected. Stop the dilution of these legislations for the future of India’s environment and people.
Environment Impact Assessment Notification:
- Already this year, slight changes in legislation now allow coal mines to expand by approx. 5 million tons per annum WITHOUT a public hearing. Which means, if a running mine wants to expand into a local’s backyard as long as the size of expansion is within the new limit – How does that make sense? 
- The government has also permitted mid-sized polluting industries to operate within five km of national parks and sanctuaries with state clearances, compared with the 10-km limit imposed by the Supreme Court. 
- There is a proposal that instead of each mine in a cluster having to get separate environment clearance, mines would be APPROVED IN CLUSTERS – Does this mean that if a small mine has got environment clearance, the projects around that mine will easily get it as well based on same landscape? An impact of one mine on a forest is much different from impact of 10 mines even if the landscape and the density of forest was same.
- The government has proposed that large dams (more than 5000ha) for drinking and industrial water supply escape scrutiny by EAC of the MoEF. It’s a known fact that large dams have significant impacts on the ecology and local communities. An unbiased approval by the EAC of MoEF is necessary as there is pressure on State Appraisal Committees because most of the drinking water supply or flood embankment projects are undertaken by state governments.
Forest Conservation Act:
- Prospecting forest areas of upto 100 hectares will NOT need official inspection – This means that if any company wants to explore forest areas of upto 100 hectares, the government officials won’t even inspect the area and grant permissions. Is that safe for communities and wildlife in our forests? 
- A recent change made by the government now suggests that for any forest clearance, a collector will decide whose consent is necessary and whose does not matter. This is AGAINST the previous rule that allowed the Tribal Gram Sabha to get consent from people who resided in these areas and/or were dependent on these forests for their livelihoods. This change makes the Forest Rights Act a redundant legislation because corruption and personal opinions can ignore the rights of the forest dwellers. 
Wildlife Protection Act:
- The constitution of the NBWL and its Standing Committee set up in July 2014 seems ambiguous . It is not even available on MoEF website. The notification seems to be in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act in letter and spirit and is not in the interest of the wildlife, biodiversity or protected areas in the country. The Notification dated 22 July 2014 does not nominate any NGO as stipulated by the Wildlife protection Act. 
National Green Tribunal:
- There is also a proposal to DILUTE the powers of NGT and move it under the MoEF. This means that the current hope for environment and people’s rights to be protected from ignorant corporate projects for short term goals will now be crushed as the fair and exclusive. 
Mr. Prime Minister,
Hoping your motto: “Sabka saath sabka vikaas” (participation of all, development for all) is not limited to
- the corporates who clearly benefit from all these changes as their projects would cruise through processes with no checks on impacts on environment or people
- the 30% of the population in the urban cities which will benefit short term with the increasing energy supply but would lose natural resources like clean water, dense forests and clean air in the long run and for generations to come.