In its recently modified notification, the Central Government said that they have planned to re-engineer the EIA rules on the basis of the amendments and the experience of last many years in implementing construction in the areas that fall under the 20,000-50,000 square metres. According to the latest notification, the development of buildings under these areas will not require environment clearance from the government anymore. This notification is issued by the Ministry of Environment.
The notification said that as the principal notification has undergone substantial changes over the years, the Ministry has decided to re-engineer the entire notification in line with the amendments issued…and circulars issued from time to time and experience gained over the years in implementation of the EIA notification.
As per the new notification, the process of sanctioning clearances for sand mining and construction activities have been eased out, and a decision that has not gone down well with environmental activists who claim that the EIA notification compromises public hearings.
However, the draft gives nod to the district-level authorities that are headed by the district magistrate to seek exemption from public hearing while granting green clearance for the sand mining in areas that cover land parcel upto five hectares.
On the other hand, Lawyer and environmentalist Vikrant Tongad said that the Government is trying to offer benefit to the developers and mining companies through this notification as it was weakening the EIA.
The EIA i.e. the Environmental Impact Assessment is a procedure to evaluate the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, while considering the inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse.
However, Chandra Bhushan, deputy director of Centre for Science and Environment said that this notification does not set up right institution for compliance of the conditions under which clearance is given. The entire process becomes meaningless. Corruption remains a major issue. The draft is a status quo draft.