Bengaluru, July 24: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday asked the Centre to give “wide publicity” on the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2020 in all the regional languages. 

On Thursday, the Centre, quoting Environment (Protection) Rules, 2006, said there was no need to publish the draft EIA in any other language other than English and Hindi.

However, the court said there was need for publication of the draft rules in all the regional languages, The New Indian Express reported. 

The court observed that the matter needed detailed hearing and posted the case to August 5. Earlier, the court had also asked the Centre to extend the date of filing of public objections and suggestions beyond August 11. The Delhi high court had extended the deadline from June 30 to August 11 and also questioned the notification publication in only two languages.

“Even as the country was gearing up for lockdown, the NDA government quietly issued EIA, 2020 which follows its mantra of ‘ease of doing business’ in totality for many industries without any environmental clearances,” said the petitioner, Bengaluru-based United Conservation Movement (UCM), a citizens’ movement for environment-related issues.

During the pandemic, the notification has been restricted to its official website and gazette while many people were not even aware of its existence, it said. It petitioned the court that earlier, such notifications were published in vernacular newspapers but the draft EIA, 2020 failed to do this. So, citizens have been deprived of their right to file their objections/ suggestions for such an important notification which is a violation of natural justice, the petition said.

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