Increasing penalty for eco-vandalism will help: Expert

Interview with Dr Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of Centre for Science and Environment

sakshi

Sakshi Kuchroo | March 31, 2016 | New Delhi


#Law   #Environment   #Yamuna   #Sri Sri Ravi Shankar   #Art of Living   #NGT   #Centre for Science and Environment  


Close to the World Cultural Festival organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AoL), purportedly, causing damage to the flood plain of river Yamuna in Delhi, the centre is mulling changes in the environmental laws to make such vandalism unaffordable. The proposed changes in the law would scale up the fines to a minimum of Rs 5 crore as against Rs 1 lakh. Will this act as a deterrent?
 
Governance Now spoke with Dr Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), to find out if hiking penalty for environmental damage would act as a deterrent against misuse of natural resources. Excerpts from the interview:
 
Is increasing the penalty for environmental vandalism from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 crore a wise move?

Our current system of compliance is of criminal nature, but we hardly send anyone to jail for violating environmental laws. So, the present scenario does not have adequate deterrence. We need a system of compliance which includes financial penalty of credible deterrence. I think the hike in penalty was long overdue. It is necessary to increase the amount which throws an impact on the violators. But that is just one aspect. We also need to build strong infrastructural reforms that will be required for this hiked fine in becoming effective.
 
The proposed law has provisions for adjudicating authority comprising two environmental experts and a district judge to assess the damage. Will this help?
 
I don’t think so. I am fine with the idea of forming an authority that will assess the damage but this individual committee will just lead to multiplicity in the system and not coherence. Rather than creating an individual body, what we need is that such a committee should be integrated with the already existing mechanism. For example, the preferred appellate will probably be in all states, so it should be a part of the state pollution control board as they already have the mechanism which will assess the details of the damage. Also, three people cannot govern each and every aspect of the problem; you need to have a team, a definite mechanism that will deal with every minute detail of the violation. So rather than creating more confusion by this multiplicity, we need to start working coherently.
 
The proposed law also aims to categorise violations into minor, non-substantial and substantial. Do you think it will minimise the discretion of state boards?
 
Well, they need to define these three categories. Exactly what sort of violation will be considered minor? Recently, some dead fishes surfaced at the area around Ulsur lake in Bangalaore in the first week of March, imagine the level of contamination. Will this be considered a minor category? Isn’t it a serious issue?  They really need to outline what will comprise these categories, otherwise it’s useless.
 

Comments

 

Other News

Election manifestos and voters` Right to Know

Recognising the importance of election manifestos, the supreme court directed the election commission (EC) of India to frame guidelines directly governing the contents of the election manifestos in the case of S. Subramaniam Balaji v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors. reported in (2013) 9 SCC 659. Although th

No support from govt, says ad veteran Sam Balsara

Advertising veteran Sam Balsara has lamented the lack of support from the government to the industry and said that it has completely ignored the sector. Balsara, the founder, chairman and managing director of Madison World and Madison Communications, said that the government needs to provide

Covid-19: New cases are increasing, but so are recoveries

Even as India continues to record more than 50,000 new Covid-19 infections every day for a week now, there was some hope in the rising number of recoveries as well, with a drop in the case fatality rate and a spike in the recovery rate. Thus, the country recorded the highest single day recov

Breaking new ground in Ayodhya: History is created

History was created as prime minister Narendra Modi participated in the foundation-stone-laying ceremony for the new Ram Temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday, ending centuries of controversy. Modi performed Bhoomi Pujan at `Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir`, in the presence of a very limited number o

How to encourage and support breastfeeding amid pandemic

The most joyous moment of a woman’s life is to breastfeed her baby for the first time. Breast milk is the foundation to build a strong bonding between mother and child and must not be missed by any newborn in its nutrition uptake. The World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging people to “su

Covid testing: India crosses 2 crore milestone

As part of its 3T strategy of focusing on testing, tracing and treating to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, India crossed a landmark, testing 2,02,02,858 COVID-19 samples so far. This is pursuant to the key strategy followed by state/UT governments under the guidance of the centre for managem

Governance Now 5th PSU IT Forum

Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter