Watered down: This exemption further dilutes EIA norms, much to environmentalists’ dismay. Photo: P Jeganathan/WikimediaCommons

Highway construction upto 100 kms from LoC, without green clearance, allowed

The government exempted highway construction activity upto 100 km from line of control from prior environmental clearances. Environmentalists and legal experts opposed the dilution of the EIA norms, particularly for highway projects in border areas. The government said they had not received any major objections to these changes, HT reported. Experts pointed out that the land within this 100-km EC-exempt zone, is about 1.3M km², or 40% of India’s land area.

The high-powered committee (HPC) for the Char Dham Pariyojana, Uttarakhand, recommended an environment impact assessment (EIA) before conducting road widening in the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone stretch. But environmentalists fear that the exemption will mean the EIA process will be skipped entirely for the project.  

India’s green ministry seeks to decriminalise some provisions of its forest act

Environmentalists raised concerns about a recent consultation paper released by India’s environment ministry. The paper includes the ministry’s plans to decriminalise some provisions of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, including starting a fire in a forest, felling trees, and dragging timber. 

The original provision stated that such acts would lead to imprisonment of six months and a fine. The proposed provision, however, seeks to reduce this to just a fine of Rs500. Environmentalists, however, fear that the new provisions trivialise a serious offence such as felling trees worth lakhs by just imposing a paltry fine.  

India likely to submit emission-cutting plan to UN by September: Sources

India will submit its emission-cutting plans to the United Nations, an obligation it has to fulfil under the Paris Agreement. It is likely to send across the plans by September, just before COP27, according to sources. The country has delayed submitting plans despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s grand announcement at COP27 the net-zero-by-2070 target.  

Brazil’s Supreme Court first in world to recognise Paris Agreement as human rights treaty

In a move that is sure to have implications on climate litigation globally, Brazil’s Supreme Court became the first in the world to recognise the Paris Agreement as a human rights treaty. The declaration was made as the court delivered its first climate change ruling, which ordered the Brazilian government to reactivate its national climate fund. The court said the climate fund was a primary tool to cut emissions, and shutting it down was equivalent to a breach “by omission” of the country’s constitution. 

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