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Legality and Legitimacy of Public Participation in Environmental Decision Making Process: A Review of Scenario from State of Odisha, India

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Geography, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, INDIA
  • 2 Natural resources Knowledge and Activist hub, Action Aid, Odisha, INDIA

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 3, Issue (3), Pages 79-84, March,22 (2014)

Abstract

Development is a continuous process and is essential to enable the population to attain a better standard of life. But it should not be at the cost of the environment. The challenge of a development pattern striving to harmonize economics with social and environmental need requires active citizen participation in public issues. Involvement of the public is one of the fundamental principles of a successful EIA process. It not only provides an opportunity to those directly affected by a project to express their views on the environmental and social impacts of the proposal but also brings about transparency in the environmental clearance system. However it has been found out that this vital part of environmental clearance process has become mere symbolic due to weaknesses in regulation, lack of awareness and expertise among the participants. This raises question on effective EMP implementation and re-addresal of environmental externalities. The present paper tries to identify the key anomalies and deficiencies by analyzing the minutes of a number of public hearings covering diversified sector in Odisha followed by discussion with project proponent, project affect people and officials of regulatory agencies. Based on the findings, the paper gives a number of suggestive measures about how to make this process more effective and participative.

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