From the Desk of Dr. Pallavi Latkar, Founding Member, EVI
From my experience through the work of water bodies lakes and rivers as part of restoration rejuvenation and beautification we have seen that the local administration, though they are with us, has very little in their hands primarily because many of the policies and laws are very generic. We really do not have specific guidelines for interventions at local level.
We need to formulate a strategy for local level interventions so that we are heard. I mean at least we can create a platform which is voicing informed opinions and is ready to give informed solutions. Your suggestion of Ecovision Indica ( EVI ) would be the answer. We need to brainstorm and ideate appropriately so that it is a platform that has the right structure. Whenever there is a natural resource that has to be protected and conserved, the rule book / a regulation is citied. In so many cases as we know that rule book itself is not elaborate and at local level we are unable to protect and intervene, isn’t it! I have seen that the town planning authority plays an important role. Currently all our different policies for water and environment are not integrated into the town planning regulations at district level and Town level. And whenever any permission for developing it is needed the proposal goes to the District Collector then to the planning department for their remarks. Here is where the confusion lies. So, despite of our national laws, the application becomes subjective. I here add an important observation that at the local level, several policies are neither defined nor integrated in the local byelaws i.e. in the DCR Rule book (development control regulations), and therefore surely, we need such policy interventions. The DCR rule book of Mumbai or any town does not even have the inventory of all the natural resources of the place. Such an inventory was made in Mumbai by the Society of the Mumbai Regional Planning Authority but still the local authority i.e. the Mumbai Municipal corporation is not able to accept it, in my opinion, as it is not part of the DCR. Myself and my team at Grassroots Foundation are fully willing to work towards this cause.
– Dr. Pallavi Latkar