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 Climate Change

Environment
Published on: May 9, 2020, 2:42 p.m.
Environment Impact Assessment notification extended till 30 June
  • Environment impact assessments need to made transparent. File picture for representation, source: Pexels

By Business India Editorial

The Environment Ministry has extended the notice period for responses to the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) to 30 June, allowing the public more time to send comments on the draft copy. A copy of the draft is available here.

"The Ministry is in receipt of several representations for extending the notice period expressing concern that the draft EIA Notification 2020 was published during the lockdown imposed due to the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic. Therefore, the Ministry after due consideration, deems it fit to extend the notice period up to 30 June 2020," it said in a press release.

The ministry had earlier come under criticism for seeking comments on a draft document in the middle of an ongoing pandemic when citizens have been locked down in their homes.

The 2006 law remains an important document that led to a mushrooming of EIA agencies  – both government agencies like NEERI and dozens of private agencies. These agencies performed an important service for the industry as the rules were too vague and often stringent to allow for industry to operate.

It is critical to do an EIA before large industry or large projects are set up – but using environmental clearances as a hurdle to delay projects can be unfortunate. Thus striking a balance is difficult - so the best way to do it is to make the process transparent and define much better what needs to be saved and where one can build with minimal damage.

"If this law is an attempt at simplification – it may be positive – but if it ends in just lowering the due diligence required – it will be negative," says an industry insider.

Any person with objections or suggestions on the proposals contained in the draft notification may forward the same in writing for consideration of the Central Government before 30 June 2020 to the Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Indira Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh Road, Aliganj, New Delhi 110003, or on the e-mail address: eia2020-moefcc@gov.in.

Update on 1 July 2020: The Delhi High Court has extended time till 11 August for filing objections to the draft EIA.


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