With her classical coy expressions, popular Instagram user Prapti Elizabeth has put out a short video explaining why one should reject the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) draft 2020, which would replace the existing EIA. In all of four minutes, Prapti makes a point in her trademark fashion mixing fun with fact, in accent-free Malayalam. While the Instagrammer has a follower base of more than 1.22 lakh, this video already has more than six lakh views.
She begins by drawing parallels between the EIA and a traditional arranged marriage.
âIâm past the age of marriage and marriage has not happened. So I was dreaming of a world tour. Dreams are tax free (meaningful pause). I was planning to start my world tour from the Western Ghats. Thatâs when the EIA draft 2020 (also corona) ruined it all,â Prapti says, introducing herself as Mrinalini, whose caste, religion and age are unavailable.
On cue, the âMrinaliniâ song from an old Malayalam movie plays. But Prapti interrupts it to tell you that you have to say buzz off to certain people.
âNone of us can forget the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. Realising the gravity of that situation, the EIA was passed in 1986. And now itâs going to go,â Prapti says with varied expressions of coyness, scorn and shock.
Why shouldnât it go, she asks, and then answers.
âThe existing EIA is like a traditional arranged marriage setup. Factories take their proposal for approval to scientists and researchers (like asking for the girlâs hand in marriage). They study it intensely to understand how a balance can be reached between the environment, development and the safety of citizens. This research period can also be called the courtship period,â she says shyly.
And then raises her head to say, âThe EIA 2020 draft is asking to remove that courtship period.â
In these gaps, actors Thilakan and Nedumudi Venu seem to share Praptiâs moment of shock, with film scenes mixed for effect.
The social media star then says that like elders who ask you not to tell many people when you take big decisions to keep away the evil eye, âthe big leaders and the media donât seem to want to tell us about the EIA draftâ.
âIf a factory, power plant or chemical plant comes with a proposal, without any research on its problems or dangers, they go straight to the engagement ceremony!â she says, still drawing parallels between the draft and the arranged marriage process.
âHurrying into such things is a recipe for disaster was what the Bhopal gas tragedy had taught us. Yet on May 22, 2020, there was a blast in an Assam factory that had not followed the existing EIA guidelines. The new draft will increase the possibility of such mishaps,â Prapti warns.
With the new EIA, you can set up a factory without any environmental clearance, similar to the factory in Assam, she says.
âThe draft also says that if the corporates have a change of heart, they can get the clearance,â she says and then laughs scornfully as the English subtitle says: âRight, itâs happening.â
Prapti also points out that the new draft does not allow one to report any damage caused to people or the environment. Corporates, she says, can also increase production by 50% without any clearance. âFor profit!â she mocks.
In the existing EIA, citizens can oppose the research results within 30 days. The new draft suggests reducing this period to 20 days.
âA factory can destroy not just the flora and fauna of a place, but many tribes could be displaced. The draft says that they can oppose it via video call. We donât even get network to call customer care and they want these poor people in the forest to do video calls. Donât get me started,â she says.
Thatâs why she earlier asked the viewers to save their energy, Prapti says, to ask the corporates who are giving âsuch an EIAâ to buzz off.
In her Instagram post, Prapti also mentions that August 11 is the last date to oppose the bill, asking citizens to register their protest via email before that.
The last date to register your rejection of the new EIA draft is 11th August 2020. This is a matter of our safety. Every single e-mail counts. Websites have been blocked to stop the flow of information. It's extremely important that you take 5 minutes to send that email. If the delivery fails, keep trying. There's a link in my bio for a pre drafted mail, make minor changes so that it does not end up in the spam folder. #Cancel EIA #RejectEIA2020 . Helped along majorly by @rj_anthu 's video. Verrrrry special role played by @aryanpnair thanks machaneee. . Location, wardrobe and jewellery is the courtesy of my very generous friend, @sunaina.mullick . Edited under extreme pressure by @moviememes.mp4 Helped along by @oru_dude Thank you. . P.S.There is a lot happening. My heart goes out to the people mourning their loved ones. I am sorry. If there's anything I can do, pls do let me know. And pls take very good care.