May 30, 2017
Dr. Harsh Vardhan,
Union Minister of State of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (Independent Charge)
Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh, Delhi 110 003
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org (PS to MoEF Minister)
We have just learnt that Prof Sharad Jain of NIH, Roorkee, and chairman of Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on River Valley and Hydropower Projects (RVP), is also holding additional charge of DG of NWDA, see: http://www.nwda.gov.in/writereaddata/linkimages/6419983647.pdf. His office just told one of us that he has been holding this charge since about three months already.
This is a clear case of conflict of interest. As you know, a number of NWDA projects come to EAC for approval at various stages. One such project that came before the EAC headed by Dr. Jain was the Ken Betwa project, which the committee headed by Dr. Jain promptly cleared in very first meeting of the reconstituted EAC in Dec 2016, weeks before Dr. Jain took over as Director General of NWDA, over ruling the issues that earlier four meetings of the EAC had raised about this project. How can one expect that the EAC chairman would be able to objectively, independently and scientifically appraise a project of the organisation (NWDA in this case) of which he is the Director General?
Under the circumstances, we believe there is no option, except that you must ask Dr. Jain to resign from his post as chairman of EAC, as his holding additional charge of NWDA DG, and already in conflict of interest. We also request you to ask the EAC to review their decision about Ken Betwa Project (and any other NWDA project) that the current EAC may have appraised, after appointing a new chairman of EAC.
We would like to bring to your attention that there is already a precedent in this context when in 2009, the then chairman of the EAC (RVP), Dr P Abraham was asked to resign since he was also director of hydropower companies whose projects came before EAC headed by him.
We hope you will act promptly on this issue. There is some urgency of this since the next meeting of EAC (RVP) is on May 31, 2017, that is tomorrow.
1. Prof Brij Gopal (Retired Prof from JNU, Delhi), Centre for Inland Waters in South Asia, Jaipur, email@example.com
2. Dr E A S Sarma, former Secretary, Govt of India, Vishakhapatnam, firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Dr Bharat Jhunjhunwala (Formerly with IIM Bangalore), Uttarakhand, email@example.com
4. Vimal Bhai, MATU jan Sangathan, Uttarakhand, firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Shripad Dharmadhikary, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Pune, email@example.com
6. Dr Raghu Chundawat & Joanna Van Gruisen, Baavan, Bagh Aap Aur Van Trust, Panna, Bundelkhand, firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Pushp Jain, Director, ERC Resource Centre, Delhi, email@example.com
8. Gunjan Mishra, Banda, Bundelkhand, firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Dipani Sutaria, (James Cook University, Australia), Ahmedabad, email@example.com
10. Dr. A.J.T Johnsingh, Bengaluru, firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Suman Jumani, Senior Research Fellow, Foundation for Ecological Research, Advocacy and Learning, Bengaluru, email@example.com
12. Manu Bhatnagar, Delhi, firstname.lastname@example.org
13. Cara Tejpal, Sanctuary Nature Foundation, Mumbai, email@example.com
14. Siddharth Agarwal, Veditum India Foundation, Kolkata, firstname.lastname@example.org
15. Himanshu Thakkar, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People, Delhi.
16. Dr Bhartendu Prakash, Kisan Vigyan Kendra & Grameen Vigyan Vikas Trust, Bundelkhand, UP, email@example.com
17. Dr Latha Anantha, River Research Centre, Kerala, firstname.lastname@example.org
18. Theophilus, Munsiari, Uttarakhand, email@example.com
19. K Ramnarayan, Himal Prakriti, Munsiari, Uttarakhand, firstname.lastname@example.org
20. Malika Virdi, Himal Prakriti, Munsiari, Uttarakhand, email@example.com
21. Prof Sunil Kumar Choudhary,Prof. & Head, University Dept. of Botany, T. M. Bhagalpur University, Bhagalpur, firstname.lastname@example.org, 09431875861
Copy to: 1. EAC (River Valley Projects) members
2. Prime Minister’s office
- June 1, 2017: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/chief-of-eac-on-rivers-faces-conflict-of-interest-charge/articleshow/58937121.cms
- June 1, 2017: https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/environment/2017/05/31/ken-betwa-river-linking-project-a-clear-case-of-conflict-of-interest