Making a mockery of environment impact assessment

A loophole in the law allows companies intending to set up large infrastructure and mining projects to conduct their own assessments, putting a question mark on the integrity of the process.

On a wintry morning in early 2019, around 160 people gathered at a playground at Siarmal village in Odisha’s Sundargarh district. The village is surrounded by paddy fields and forests teeming with tendu trees, barking deer and the occasional sloth bear. 

The setting isn’t as idyllic as it sounds. Siarmal is close to one of the most polluted areas in India, the Ib Valley-Jharsuguda coalfields, where the air is thick with dust from the mining and transport of coal that feeds power plants across eastern India. The people had been called to the playground by the Odisha government for a …


Nihar Gokhale

Nihar Gokhale led the Chaos coverage at The Morning Context. Nihar wrote on the environment, the economy and resource conflicts in India. He has reported from across the country on everything from displacement, pollution and environmental violations to land regulation, corruption and human rights. He was earlier associate editor at Land Conflict Watch, and his work has appeared in Scroll, The Wire, IndiaSpend, The Caravan and Mongabay India.

Editor, Chaos