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#SatyagrahaAgainstEIA2020: Citizens from across India Perform Environmental Satyagraha

By: Shubham Gupta

Borrowing a page from Mahatma Gandhi are the youth of India who have pledged to work towards environmental conservation.

The union environment ministry has received nearly 17 lakh comments and suggestions to the draft environment impact assessment (EIA) notification 2020.

To continue this movement, climate activists are trying different ways to raise their voices against the Draft EIA 2020.

On August 25, I got a chance to attend a unique event organized across India on zoom by Aditya Dubey and Aman Banka who are youth environmental activists.

More than 250 people participated from across the country in a unique peaceful mode of protest via Zoom and spoke about how the draft will have a negative effect on the environment. More than 10 environmental non-profits also joined the Satyagraha.

On 23rd of March, the ‘Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change of India’ (MoEFCC) released the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2020 as a replacement to the EIA Notification 2006.

This proposal aims to bring in, continue, and strengthen controversial amendments such as a post-facto grant of approval for the EIA for proposed projects, exemption of several large industries from public hearings, permission for businesses to submit just one environment compliance report a year rather than two, and increased validity of the environment clearances for mining and river valley projects.

“Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, taught us that it’s not merely our sacred right to oppose a wrong but also our sacred duty. Draft EIA, 2020 is wrong, not only towards the environment but towards the future of humanity and thus it’s the sacred duty of each one of us to oppose it. So, following the path shown by Bapu, we launched #SatyagrahaAgainstEIA2020 on 25th August 2020 to create mass mobilisation against this anti-people policy,” said Aditya Dubey.

“We are not alone, the whole nation is with us in the fight against the Draft EIA 2020. People from Rajghat in Delhi to Dibang valley in Assam joined us today in this discussion. Our sole aim is that we want development to be sustainable, the government should reconsider this draft,” said Aman Banka.

Popular Youtuber, Dhruv Rathee, also joined the conversation. He said, “It’s very inspiring for me to see children rise up on environmental issues. I personally feel the environment is very important for us. Environment should be a priority more than any other issue.”

“We are already suffering a lot from environmental effects, from the depletion of groundwater to deforestation, we need to improve this situation and not make it worse,” commented environmentalist Vimlendu Jha. 

Aman Banka and Aditya Dubey are among the few activists whose voices are at the forefront of the climate action debate in India. 

Shubham Gupta

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