Environment Impact Assessment

Adv. Bhuneshwari Devi

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an important management tool for ensuring optimal use of natural resources for sustainable development. A beginning in this direction was made in our country with the impact assessment of river valley projects in 1978-79 and the scope has subsequently been enhanced to cover other developmental sectors such as industries, thermal power projects, mining schemes etc. To facilitate collection of environmental data and preparation of management plans, guidelines have been evolved and circulated to the concerned Central and State Government Departments. EIA has now been made mandatory under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 for 29 categories of developmental activities involving investments of Rs. 50 crores and above.

The procedure of environment impact assessment is wide and rigid. But unfortunately these procedure are not followed properly in its strict sense. The aim of an EIA is to ensure that potential impacts are identified and addressed at an early stage in the projects planning and design. To achieve this aim, the assessment finding are communicated to all the relevant groups who will make decisions about the proposed projects, the project developers and their investors as well as regulators, planners and the politicians. Having read the conclusions of an environmental impact assessment, project planners and engineers can shape the project so that its benefits can be achieved and sustained without causing adverse impacts on environment. In recent years, major projects have encountered serious difficulties because insufficient account has been taken of their relationship with the surrounding environment. Some projects have been found to be unsustainable because of resource depletion. Others have been abandoned because of public opposition, financially encumbered by unforeseen costs, held liable for damages to natural resources and even been the cause of disastrous accidents. Given this experience, it is very risky to undertake finance, or approve a major project without first taking in to account its environmental consequences and then siting and designing the project so as to minimize adverse impacts.The MOEF is the agency for environmental clearance. If necessary, it may consult a committee of experts with a composition specified in schedule III of notification. Ideally EIA should provide information to decision makers at early stage of the project planning cycle. It should be initiated as early as possible before the commencement of projects. If the projects secureapproval, EIA should include a provision to cover the audit of the project. The amount allocated and spent for preparation of EIA by the project proponents are usually abysmally low compared to the overall project costs (often less than 1% of overall projects).

The author is a Human Rights Activist and also the President of Wooden House Society an Island based NGO which works on legal awareness, legal aid and on women empowerment.

Domestic Violence Act

By Bhuneshwari Devi

Crime against women come in many forms, the worst being the crime by the family members of the victim woman. National Crime Records Bureau reveal that a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes, which includes cases of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of the victim that occurs every nine minutes. As a matter of fact, around 70% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. This all occurs despite the fact that women in India are legally protected from domestic abuse under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.

Domestic violence is not a unique phenomenal in our country. It is wide spread and can also be seen in most developed countries. Women of all races and caste are affected and infected with domestic violence. It really doesn’t matter if they are highly educated or illiterate this is one such thing where discrimination of any form doesn’t take place.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (DV Act) was passed in 2005, but implementation of the Act itself took almost three years. The Act is very wide the scope of domestic violence is explain and accepted in many manners and forms which were earlier unheard of. The Act is very progressive in its own way but it took its own time to be accepted.

Though the act as such offered nothing new. All the component of Domestic Violence Act, can be found in other legislations like Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Hindu Succession Act and other legislations. But bringing all such provisions for the protection of women from domestic violence and also for redefining remedies to the victims of domestic violence in one legislation gives the Domestic Violence Act its special place.

The Domestic Violence Act defines violence as an abuse in any form including physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic by a man living in the family in any relationship to the woman. Physical violence is the most visible form of abuse and it refers to slapping, pushing, kicking, biting, hitting, throwing objects, strangling, beating, threatening with any form of weapon, or using a weapon. Economic violence involves making or attempting to make the woman financially dependent on the abuser that may include preventing or forbidding an intimate partner from working or gaining and education, controlling the financial resources, and withholding access to economic resources.

Sexual Violence refers to the violation of an individual’s bodily integrity, including coercing sexual contact, rape, and prostitution, as well as any unwelcome sexual behaviour, including treating someone in a sexually demeaning manner or any other conduct of a sexual nature, whether physical, verbal, or non-verbal. Sexual abuse also includes behaviour which limits reproductive rights, such as preventing use of contractive methods and forcing abortion. Psychological abuse is often characterized as intimidation, threats of harm, and isolation, while emotional abuse involves undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth.

The Domestic Violence Act aims at protecting the women from domestic violence in any of these forms and also aims at providing remedies. On an application either by the aggrieved woman or by any representative of the aggrieved woman, the Magistrate can issue various orders for protection of women from domestic violence including protection order, residence order, custody order, compensation order, monetary relief and prohibition orders against the offender.

Despite of its wide nature, it is observed that the largely domestic violence is used for obtaining maintenance but it offer much more. It depends how a victim uses the law, more importantly how much she knows about the law.

The purpose of any Act is not to increase the number of offences and cases but on the contrary, to decrease it. Time will tell how much Domestic Violence Act will serve its purpose for which this legislation was enacted.

The author is a Human Rights Activist and also the President of Wooden House Society an Island based NGO which works on legal awareness, legal aid and on women empowerment.

(Etiquette & Protocol)

By Dr.Dinesh, Dental Surgeon

Sitting in a waiting room is an experience in itself. You arrive on time for your appointment, that doesn’t mean you can get in at the dot into the doctors chamber, please reach at least 15 minutes prior to the appointment time as there is no excuse for traffic jam at Port Blair though this kind of lame excuse is given at mainland and you may have to wait for about 15 minutes to half an hour or more depending upon the rush, sometimes patient takes token and roam around in bazaar and come back, though the receptionist might have called the token number at the top of her voice and all the patients sitting there search for that patient but all in vain and finally that patient comes cool after a stroll at the nearby tea shop, and argue with receptionist, please don’t do that but your heart sinks when you see the crowd or there is only a patient but the procedure is time taking. With a resigned attitude you glance around and try to pass time. You are fuming because at this rate you don’t know when your turn will come, which makes you all the more anxious. Here are some suggestions that would help avoid stress caused by waiting.

For the people waiting, this is a public area and as such, all the normal expectations of behavior in company are expected, starting with keeping your voice down, your mobile phone ringing(though it may have a melodious tune) at high volume etc so  put them in vibrator  mode.

If the seating is limited, please ask the healthy folks accompanying to give up the seat to a fellow patient.

Please control your children from running around and chasing each other or picking up things from doctor’s clinic and placing it somewhere else. Nerves are already stretched thin!

When you have finished reading the magazines put them back from where they came. The next person will really appreciate it. The magazines are here for everyone to read so please refrain from grabbing the whole pile, and worse, don’t stick them into your bag or tear pages.

Don’t ask other people why they are here. By the same token, don’t go into gory details of your health problems unless, of course you have found a pair of very eager ears.


Last but not the least, this is not the place to smoke or spread out your eatables. A pinch of courtesy and dollop of consideration will work wonders.

Constitution of India and Human Rights

Adv Bhuneshwari Devi

The moment we use the term “human Rights” the first thing which comes to our mind is rights to equality. Human rights are moral principles that set out certain standards of human behaviour, and are regularly protected as legal rights in national and international law.They are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being.Human rights are thus conceived as universal (applicable everywhere) and egalitarian (the same for everyone). Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 is considered as the backbone of Human Rights. Internationally, human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups. If we look at the Indian scenario our constitution can be taken as the protector of Human Rights.

One of the most important rights guaranteed under Indian Constitution is the Right to Life and personal Liberty. Article 21 of Constitution of India says: Protection of life and personal liberty – No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. I personally like this article as a lawyer and I am sure this will be personal favourite of other Human Rights lawyers and activist too for the reason that this article is complete and definition of this article can be interpreted very wide and positive. In a number of cases, Supreme Court of India has widened the scope of this article to include right to legal aid, speedy and fair trial, privacy, consulting lawyer, to have compensation under public law, human dignity, and right against use of handcuffs and chains, rights against custodial violence, against delayed execution, against solitary confinement, etc.

Human rights violations usually relates to violations of right to life and personal liberty at all levels. It covers issues likeprotection against police brutality, protection against illegal confinement,violence from armed forces, end of violence of any kind- including domestic violence, discrimination of any form and so on- the list is endless. In today’s scenario and age though we considered our self very modern but our action speaks otherwise. Till today caste-based violence exit and domestic violence and violence against female gender is on rise. Human Rights requires to be respected not only from the side of government but also from individual end.


The author is a Human Rights Activist and also the President of Wooden House Society an Island based NGO which works on legal awareness, legal aid and on women empowerment.

Version 2.0 without Bugs?

By Zubair Ahmed

It was the story of meteoric rise for Bishnu Pada Ray since 1991 when he, almost single-handed, sowed the seeds of BJP in the Islands and nurtured it. From a mere 4% plus votes in 1991, he kept on increasing his tally ultimately defeating the invincible Manoranjan Bhakta in 1999, and turning the table once again in 2009 defeating the young Turk, Kuldeep Rai Sharma.

In fact, in 1999, it was Kuldeep Rai Sharma's ANC, which gave him his first taste of victory and Manoranjan Bhakta, who offered on a platter another victory in 2009. Both helped him win through surreptitious ways, and in 2014, he has become a formidable force, giving nightmares to both of them.

He had been a difficult person, who could never manage power. His best supporters agree that he could not manage power in spite of all his best intentions. He turned into a crusader out to change the world in one term. In the process he ended up creating an army of opponents both outside and inside the Administration.

His defeat in 2004 was followed by extreme humiliation as he became a pariah in the very organisation he had created himself. All his protégés had turned hostile to him. He was not seen around BJP Bhavan for years together.

Under the circumstances, it was not less than a miracle that he managed the BJP nomination again in 2009 and finally came out victorious against Congress' Kuldeep Rai Sharma.

A resident of Ashoke Nagar in 24 Parganas, West Bengal, Bishnu Pada Ray came to Andamans in search of a job sometime in early seventies. He worked in various capacities including as an LIC agent, in the erstwhile WIMCO Ltd and married a local lass in 1976.

In his first term as MP, he manifested all traits of an angry middle-aged man. Impetuous, hot headed and temperamental, he couldn't stand criticism or opposition even though he believed in wider consultation with various shades of opinions. Tact, diplomacy and discretion were not his high points.

But, time is the best teacher, and the second term saw a sea change in Bishnu. Despite his short honeymoon with Trinamul Congress, he kept connected with the electorate and the ground realities. Rather than people approaching him, he reached them and the bond that he could build in the last five years has become an asset for him.

From a middle aged angry man without a party behind him, he is now a toned down sensible sitting Member of Parliament with a party backing him up.

However, there are cracks and fissures, manifesting its ugly head everywhere, but Bishnu seems confident that it won’t reflect in the elections. It would have to be seen how much he can convert the goodwill that he claims to have developed over the years into votes.

His strained relationship with the State President, Vishal Jolly did push the party backwards, but Bishnu maintained his demeanor, that finally won him secure the seat, despite all misadventures.

"Vishal Jolly is my President and I am under him," he says trying to put all faith in the party and win back the space, that once he avoided.

More than outside, Bishnu might be worried how to keep the folks inside his party together and sail through the rough weather. His recent hobnobbing with the bureaucracy might also give him an edge over others, where he has been accommodated to his content.

Vishal Jolly, the President of his party seems to be in a dilemma, whether to go out and extend support to his candidate openly after all the hullaballoo about the seat. But, it’s for sure that the decision he takes in the present will decide his future political career. Or, the cost he will have to pay in case NDA comes to power will be inconceivable.

The day, Bishnu Pada Ray’s name was announced as the party candidate, it did send shivers in the opponent camp and it’s a fact everybody accepts, including Congressmen. Or, the grapevine was that it would be a cakewalk for Kuldeep Rai Sharma, if Vishal was the candidate. The scene has changed and fight ahead seems to be tough.


The 2014 election is a different ball game altogether. The major fight is between a sitting MP, who has not damaged his prospects and kept himself alive throughout the five years and Kuldeep Rai Sharma, who has the backing of one of the oldest parties who needs a term to prove his worth, and has been quite successful in activating the cooperative movement to his advantage.