The Ministry of Environment and Forests is all set to overhaul the process of granting clearances through the Environment Impact Assessments (EIAs). Come June,consultants who prepare EIAs will have to be accredited by the Quality Council of Indias National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET).
Environment clearances for projects are granted only after a detailed EIA report is prepared for a particular project. Typically,the project proponent chooses a consultant to prepare the EIA report. The final assent,based on the report,is issued by the MoEF. It has been found that in several cases norms are flouted while preparing the EIAs.
The Central Empowered Committee has,for instance,found that the EIA was circumvented when the UP government cut trees to make way for a park with statues in Noida.
An expert committee is being set up to examine the expertise of the consultants,who will be given accreditation if found suitable in terms of educational qualifications and experience. We will put up a list of accredited consultants on our website. The project proponent can choose from this list, said an official from NABET.
While the process has been in the pipeline for two years,it has been given an impetus only recently. The MoEF has also written to state pollution control committees,directing them to conduct public hearings before conducting EIAs. In fact,Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has gone on record saying that he wants to increase the rejection rate of projects that harm the environment.