November 9, 2012
Smt Jayanathi Natarajan,
Union Minister of state (IC) of Environment and Forests
Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road,
New Delhi 110003
Sub: Violations of CIC orders in consideration of environmental clearances
1. The Central Information Commission, through its order dated January 18, 2012 (the order is attached for ready reference), had directed the MEF that with effect from April 1, 2012, the MEF should put up all relevant documents that the project proponent submit to the ministry while applying for environment clearance, including Form 1 or 1A as applicable. The order said, "These directions are being given by the Commission under its powers under Section 19(8)(a)(iii) of the RTI Act. It is also in conformance with the requirements of Section 4(1)(b)(xvii). This order is prospective and will apply to all documents received by the Ministry from March 2012 onwards."
2. Following a complaint filed by Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP to the CIC that the above mentioned order is not being complied with, the CIC had issued a notice to the MEF on May 18, 2012 (order is attached), which inter alia said, "The Commission has looked at the website of the Ministry and it appears that the direction of the Commission as mentioned above has been only partially complied with, and finds that the Complainant's contention appears to be true. You are directed to ensure that the complete information as directed in the Commission's order is put up on the website of the Ministry by 11 June 2012 failing which the Commission would take punitive action under RTI Act."
3. We have noticed, however, that the MEF has been putting before the EAC projects without adhering to the CIC orders. For example, the latest meeting of the EAC for the River Valley projects is to happen on Nov 23-24, 2012, however, Form 1 and other relevant documents are not available on the website of the MEF for any of the projects under consideration. This is clearly in violation of the CIC orders.
4.. We appreciate that you had directed that the FAC meeting to be held on Oct 30-31, 2012 be postponed till the MEF follows similar directions issued by the CIC for projects being considered for forest clearance and subsequently, the MEF has put up Form A for the projects to be considered for forest clearance in the next meeting.
We hope you will ensure that the CIC orders are implemented before any new projects are taken up by EAC or by MoEF for environment clearance, as also other aspects of the CIC orders are implemented. We hope the relevant documents including Form 1 (with all annexures), EIA, public hearing minutes and other relevant documents are available on the MoEF website at least two weeks (preferably a month) before the projects are considered by EAC.
Thanking you for your consideration, we will look forward to hearing from you.
We are copying this to the officials of the Ministry, including the member secretary of EAC on River Valley and hydropower projects and also members of the EAC on RVP, for their information and also necessary action. We urge EAC not to take up consideration of any projects in violation of the CIC orders.
EAS Sarma, Former Secretary, Govt of India, Vishakhapatnam, email@example.com
Neeraj Vagholikar, Kalpavriksh, Pune, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gopal Krishna Toxics Watch Allaince, Delhi email@example.com
Samir Mehta, River Basin Organisation, Mumbai, firstname.lastname@example.org
Manshi Asher, Himdhara, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, manshi.asher@gmail.
E Theophilus, Malika Virdi, K Ramnarayan, Himal Prakriti, Munsiari, Uttarakhand, email@example.com
Bharat Jhunjhunwala, former prof of IIM Bangalore, Uttarakhand, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pandurang Hegde, Appiko-Chipko Movement, Karnataka, email@example.com
Dr Latha Anantha, River Research Centre, Kerala, latha.anantha9@gmail.
Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP, Delhi, firstname.lastname@example.org