New Delhi, March 16, 2017

Industrial units that have not taken environmental clearance till now have been given a six-month window by the Environment Ministry to apply for the same.

A notification has been issued to introduce this provision.

“The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities have been receiving proposals under the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, for grant of terms of reference and environmental clearance for projects which have started the work on site, expanded the production beyond the limit of environmental clearance or changed the product mix without obtaining prior EC,” the Ministry said in a statement.

It added that the Ministry had issued office memoranda in 2012 and 2013, laying down a process for grant of environmental clearances to such cases of violation.

However, these had been quashed by the National Green Tribunal since clearances have to be sought prior to the projects taking off and it had held that such office memoranda cannot create procedure for post clearance.
Stringent process

“In view of the above, the Ministry issued the notification to bring such projects and activities in compliance with the environmental laws at the earliest point of time, rather than leaving them unregulated and unchecked.

“As such units are more polluting if they are not brought under the environment compliance regime, but the process for such violators has to be stringent and punitive,” the official statement said.

All such cases of violation will be appraised as category “A” projects — the highest — by respective sector Expert Appraisal Committee at the Central level, the statement added.

[The Hindu Business Line]