Interview with Dr Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of Centre for Science and Environment
Sakshi Kuchroo | March 31, 2016 | New Delhi
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.
Revadi (sweetmeat) or more popular word, ‘freebies’, has been dominating headlines recently. A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Supreme Court to bar all political parties from making such promises. In response, one leading political party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has filed thei
Since August 2019, Government of India, in partnership with States, is implementing Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to make provision of potable tap water supply every rural household by 2024. As many as 6.70 crore households have been provided with tap water connections in the 35 months, since Aug
Over the last few years, cloud has been able to create a special place for itself amongst fast moving, competitive and growth-led organisations. As the technology became an imperative, it has undoubtedly created unique business opportunities and isbecoming an anchor for innovation for leading businesses gl
None-of-the-above, or NOTA – the option introduced for voters in 2013 when they don’t want to support any of the candidate – has made some progress. In the past five years, NOTA has secured 1,29,77,627 votes in state assembly elections and Lok Sabha election, according to an analysis by t
India stands committed to reduce Emissions Intensity of its GDP by 45 percent from the 2005 level by 2030 and achieve about 50 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. The country’s India’s updated Nationally Determined Contributi
The government had put 72,098 MHz spectrum to auction, of which 51,236 MHz (71% of the total) has been sold with bid amounting to Rs. 1,50,173 crore. Adani Data Networks Ltd has obtained 400 MHz spectrum in mm wave band (26 GHz). Bharti Airtel Ltd has obtained 19,867.8 MHz in 900, 1800, 2100