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FE@CAMPUS MASTERMIND: Response by Ranjeet Singh to question for March 25-31

Do environmental clearances in India need a fresh look?

Written by FeBureau | Published: March 31, 2013 2:42:25 pm

The MOEF is the nodal agency for environmental clearance. The environmental division plays a key role,but the forest and wild life divisions are consulted when projects involve diversion of forestland or the alignment of roads and highways along or within the wild life areas. The project proponents of new projects must submit an application to the secretary,ministry of Environment and Forests,New Delhi in the standard Performa specified in the EIA notification.

There are several concerns with reference to the granting of environmental clearance of projects. Firstly,for projects that require site clearance it is often assumed by project proponents that once site clearance is granted,environmental clearance will follow. As a result,many project proponents begin construction of the project components (like housing colonies,roads),even before the environmental clearance is granted. This is despite the fact that it has been specified in the EIA notification that this should not be done. At another level,when environmental clearance is granted despite public objection / rejection the reasons for the same are not conveyed to all those who have sent in written objections and/or attended the public hearing. There are very few ways to get information regarding project clearances. For those with access to the internet,the MOEF website seems to be of some help. However,very often the information on the website is updated much after the decision is taken.

Ranjeet Singh

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