NEW DELHI—India’s two most influential real estate sector lobby groups took exactly opposite positions about the Narendra Modi government’s controversial new draft law for environment clearance in their recent letters to the union environment ministry, according to official documents and interviews with members of the two groups by HuffPost India.
While the Builders Association of India (BAI) criticised several provisions of the proposed law—which is officially called the draft environment impact assessment notification (EIA 2020)—and sought its withdrawal as well as postponement of the ongoing public consultation process due to the coronavirus pandemic; the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (CREDAI) welcomed the draft law calling it “transparent” and one that “promotes sustainable development”.
If the position taken by CREDAI on the proposed law is obvious, the BAI’s position is unexpected because, as HuffPost India revealed in a previous report, some provisions in the draft EIA 2020 notification help the real estate sector at the cost of the environment.
And yet, in a two page letter sent to the environment secretary last week, the BAI president Mu. Moahan expressed his concerns about some of the provisions of the draft law and doubted the possibility of having broad based public consultations given the prevailing coronavirus pandemic.
“We are deeply concerned that this draft notification has been put out in the midst of a national health crisis,” said Moahan in the letter sent to the environment secretary on August 3.
“Opportunities to understand and discuss the implications of the proposed amendments may be severely hindered due to the present health emergency with restricted public movement, social distancing and challenges to everyday life activities. These restrictions also make it impossible to disseminate information about the notification to communities who deserve to know and influence the...