Green norms for project expansion could be relaxed -Jayashree Nandi
It has also exempted projects with a proposed capacity expansion up to 40% from the requirement of public consultations, with certain riders.
In a move that could turn out to be a bonanza for the mining and infrastructure sectors, the environment ministry is considering a number of relaxations in the environment impact assessment (EIA) process that is carried out for development projects, including mining, before they are given the go-ahead.
In a draft of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2019, circulated for “internal discussion,” the expansion of development projects with a production capacity increase of up to 25% has been exempted from EIA. HT has seen a copy of the draft.
It has also exempted projects with a proposed capacity expansion up to 40% from the requirement of public consultations, with certain riders. If approved, the EIA Notification 2019 will replace the EIA Notification 2006 which made prior EIA, environmental clearance and public consultations mandatory even for expansion of projects.
All projects concerning national defence and security or involving other strategic considerations, as determined by the Centre, will also be exempted from public consultations, and so will all linear projects such as highways or expressways, pipelines and so on, in border states.
All projects concerning national defence and security or involving “other strategic considerations,” as determined by the Centre, will be assessed. However, no information relating to such projects or activities will be put in the public domain, the draft states.
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