News By/Courtesy: Kaushal Shah | 19 May 2019 10:57am IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • As the EIA notification comprises public hearings, a decision for the process of clearances granted for sand mining and construction activities have been eased out.
  • The draft allows district-level authorities, headed by the district magistrate, to seek exemption from public hearing while granting green clearance for sand mining in areas up to 5 hectares of land
  • EIA is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts.

A modified notification has been issued by the centre on environment impact assessment (EIA) in which it said that the environment clearance from the government is not required for the construction in areas between 20,000-50,000 sq metres.
The Ministry of Environment said that “As
the principal notification has undergone substantial changes over the years, the Ministry has decided to restructure 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 the EIA notification comprises public hearings, a decision for the process of clearances granted for sand mining and construction activities have been eased out and as such it has not gone down well with environmental activists under the new notification. The draft allows district-level authorities, headed by the district magistrate, to seek exemption from public hearing while granting green clearance for sand mining in areas up to five hectares of land.  The government was trying to give benefit to builders and mining companies through these notifications which in turn was weakening the EIA said Lawyer and environmentalist Vikrant Tongad.

“The government is trying to give benefit to builders, mining companies and industries by weakening the EIA notification of 2006, which will increase pollution and corruption in India. In the sand mining sector, no public hearing will now take place for mining in an area of 0-5 hectare. It is a wrong move and public hearing must take place," Tongad said. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse.  Sharing his view, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said this draft has weakened the existing EIA. "My first impression is that this draft, if it is converted into the final law, will weaken the environment assessment. EIA needs substantial strengthening. Public participation part has been weakened," he said. 

Bhushan said that the entire process has become meaningless and will not help in bringing down corruption.  "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," he said.  
The activists were also of the view that this new notification would violate court and National Green Tribunal orders by which several amendments included in the EIA draft have been quashed already.

Section Editor: Shreyashi Tiwari | 19 May 2019 11:02am IST


Tags : #Green #Environment #Clearance #Impact #Assessment #Buildings #Exempt

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