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Ramano Grilled: Minister’s EIA Fiasco Sparks Fury



Ramano Grilled: Minister's EIA Fiasco Sparks Fury
Image source: Le Mauricien

Environmental Minister Kavy Ramano faced a tough day at the Parliament on July 9th, as a Private Notice Question was raised regarding a court judgment that went against his ministry’s approval of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) permit for a project deemed to pose environmental risks. The project has been contested by a non-governmental organization (NGO).

During the session, the leader of the opposition accused Ramano of “siding with the promoter” of the project when it was heard by the Supreme Court and the Privy Council, the highest court in the land.

The minister had appealed to the Privy Council after losing the case at the Supreme Court.

Ramano attempted to clarify that the Privy Council’s ruling brought clarity to environmental laws, establishing that any party can contest an EIA permit, even if they have no private or economic interest.

However, the opposition leader reiterated that this decision would allow for “the destruction of pristine environments.”

The minister was put on the defensive, forced to recount the procedures taken in court. He had to admit that he took full responsibility as Minister of Environment.

Another concerning aspect for Ramano was that the disputed works continued despite cases being filed before the Supreme Court and Privy Council. Arvin Boolell, leader of the opposition, questioned how Ramano allowed the promoter to proceed with development without hindrance.

The minister merely stated that the Privy Council took note of the developments without providing further explanation.

The opposition leader also questioned why the ministry chose to appeal the Supreme Court’s judgment to the Privy Council, at a cost of Rs 5 million, funded by taxpayer money.

Ramano claimed he did not know what costs would be borne by parties involved in this case. He argued that appealing was necessary to receive “constructive conclusions” from the Privy Council.

In a last-ditch effort, Ramano drew parallels with other cases before the Privy Council, such as Medpoint and electoral petitions.

Source: Le Mauricien

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