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

Coal production rises by 18% to 448 MT

The total coal production in the country stands at 448 million tonnes (MT) for the month of October 2022 which is 18% higher than the production of the corresponding period of last year. The growth of coal production from Coal India Ltd (CIL) is also more than 17%. The ministry of coal said

How to execute large-scale social impact projects

The number of social innovators and entrepreneurs has considerably increased recently in India. The idea of social entrepreneurship, which aspires to provide novel solutions for the world`s most critical social issues, is now receiving more attention. Challenges like overworked healthcare,

Plastic is no longer a waste management issue

Plastic is arguably the most ubiquitous material of our times. In this Age of Plastic, it might seem its use can’t go up any further – and yet it keeps going. Between 2000 and 2015, global production of plastic increased by a whopping 79%. The total mass of plastics on our planet is now twice t

Celebrating the Ganit of Protein!

“Why is the child growing?” is the question that bothers a lot many in the administration. The answer, to be honest, is to be discovered via science, and less via what we call ‘effective administration’. Eventually, it will be the latter that will enforce the former on the field, bu

Trying to achieve work-life balance? Here’s some advice

The untapped potential of every individual is the biggest tragedy of the human race. The primary reason for this is our lack of awareness of the processes, tools and t

Getting to know Indian history’s heroes better

Bravehearts of Bharat: Vignettes from Indian History By Vikram Sampath Penguin, 334 pages, Rs 799 A student has an assignment

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter