Why public consultations should be built into policy and law making on environmental issuesAbdul Gh Lone 27 May 2023 0 COMMENTS
For decades, communities have opposed what passes for development at the cost of the environment. In January, for instance, villagers in Azamgarh, close to Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, opposed plans to expand the town’s airport.
Since 2021, residents have been opposing the international Blue Flag certification for Goa’s Cavelossim beach that is granted to breaches that meet environmental and sustainability criteria. Critics say this certification overrides key environmental rules.
Close to Telangana’s capital Hyderabad, residents of a village have since January last year protested against the expansion of stone quarrying, citing health and pollution concerns.
In India, conflicts historically arise between communities that depend on the land for their livelihoods and the authorities responsible with their welfare, a dynamic made worse when corporations seek to alter the terrain for profit. This is particularly true when it comes to environmental and climate policies, as the consequences of decisions made in this domain could have profound effects on the well-being of the environment and the people it sustains.
The key stakeholders of any project have to be the citizens who will be affected – a fact that is often overlooked. They are often kept out of the conversation until it is too late, and the only recourse is community action or long-drawn-out judicial efforts.