With Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis okaying the reconstruction of the State Expert Appraisal Committee-2 (SEAC-2), it could spell relief for projects stuck for want of a new panel for the past four months. The SEAC-2 committee appraises infrastructure projects in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) for environment clearances.
Around 400 projects were stuck until September as the tenure of SEAC-2 committee members ended in July, after which no committee was constituted at the state level. The state environment department on Tuesday finally approved a set of committee members, following the chief minister’s nod. It will now send its recommendations to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
“We have recommended six names for SEAC-2 committee and have sent it for approval to MoEF,” said Medha Gadgil, additional chief secretary, environment.
According to the state environment department, until September, around 170 new proposals were awaiting appraisal, while 225 were to be reviewed again by SEAC-2 after compliance and violation-related issues were resolved. These projects not only pertain to real estate development but also to information technology parks, commercial hubs, college expansion and hospital revamp plans, which have been pending before SEAC-2 that last met on June 27.
The SEAC-2 committee, after appraisal, recommends the projects, either for approval or rejection, to the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).
The state environment department officials, however, assured that the number of pending projects had “reduced drastically” from the September figures. “The number of pending proposals has reduced drastically now as several project proponents sought appraisal from a union committee for their pending projects in MMR,” said an official from the environment department, who added that the department did not have the current number of pending proposals.
Between July and October 18, around 21 projects from MMR were appraised by MoEF’s appraisal panel, according to the minutes of the meetings. Further, 15 MMR proposals will be appraised by the union committee on November 26, including two projects by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for “finalisation of terms of reference” for a multi-nodal corridor from Navghar to Chirner (near JNPT) and another proposal to construct an integrated water supply scheme for bulk water supply to the western sub-region of MMR, among other residential projects.