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Govt tells SC regulator for green nod not feasible

The MoEF said in affidavit that volume of work was such that this function cannot be performed by any one regulator.

Censured by the Supreme Court for not putting in place a national regulator for environmental clearances despite its 2011 order,the government informed the court Wednesday that creation of such an authority was “not feasible” and it may face infrastructural issues like the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Adopting an entirely new stance,the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has said in its affidavit that the category and volume of work involved in terms of number of proposals appraised for grant of environmental clearances in different sectors was such that this function cannot be performed by any one regulator.

The government’s stand apparently indicates a turf war where it does not want to share or part with its absolute authority to grant clearances,especially when it is already at loggerheads with the NGT over environment-related orders.

“Keeping in view the diverse and inter-connected nature of issues involved in grant of environment clearance to various categories of projects,it may not be feasible for a single authority with limited number of experts to appraise proposals seeking environment clearance to projects of various categories,” stated the MoEF’a affidavit filed through advocate Haris Beeran.

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The affidavit has come in response to the court’s query on the status of a national environment regulator for appraising projects,enforcing environmental conditions for approvals and to further impose penalties on polluters.

While allowing French cement major Lafarge to mine limestone in the forests of Meghalaya’s East Khasi hills,the apex court had in its 2011 judgment asked the government to set up a national environment regulator and said till this was done,an interim arrangement would be put in place by the MoEF in consultation with states.

However,the MoEF has now cited the example of the NGT to argue that the government will find it difficult to provide financial and infrastructure support for setting up of a separate regulator.


It is common knowledge that the Supreme Court had to intervene and issue a slew of directives to make the NGT operational by providing it with necessary infrastructure.

In place of a regulator,MoEF has now suggested to constitute an authority at the centre to monitor and facilitate implementation of the National Forest Policy,1988. The committee will primarily make plans and suggest guidelines but will not be examining the environmental approvals.

First published on: 24-10-2013 at 01:03:22 am
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