Chhattisgarh announced a proposed investment of more than Rs 1,77,000 crore in the state. Until October 2008, it had signed over a hundred MoUs with companies like Jindals, Tata Steel and Essar. After a couple of months of this announcement, a bureaucrat heading the state environment regulatory body resigned.
“Development is the preferred option, provided the carrying capacity is available. There cannot be a trade-off at the cost of the health and livelihoods of the silent majority,” wrote Sardar Amrieet Prakash Singh, former chairperson of the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (state EIA authority).
It goes unsaid that in order to improve environmental governance, the roles of efficient and worthy Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) along with an equitable growth through proper Social Impact Assessment (SIA) are indispensable. They are not merely tools to assess possible impacts and suggest mitigation for the environmental and social issues, but processes, which if done well, can yield unexpectedly positive results in the form of sustainable and equitable growth.