Going against its own orders, issued six months ago, the environment ministry has decided to exempt big buildings and real estate projects from taking environment clearance. The clearance has been mandatory requirement under the law for the past more than a decade.
This decision will free the construction industry out of the environment ministry’s purview and no project could be challenged on environmental grounds before the National Green Tribunal, say experts.
Under the current law, the building and township projects of more than 20,000 square meters size are required to carry out an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study. This study is important to gauge possible impacts of the project on the surrounding environment before starting its construction.
If the project is considered safe, the State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAA) appointed by the environment ministry, give permission (environment clearance) to the project.
The ministry has now issued a draft notification on April 29 which says the states which will integrate environmental conditions in the building approvals under their Building Bylaws will not have to get environment clearance for construction projects.
It replaces the area-specific EIA and environment clearance process carried out by SEIAA prior to starting of the project with standard conditions such as ‘sewage discharge’, ‘water harvesting’ and ‘DG Sets specification’ imposed and monitored by the local urban authorities post construction of the project.