Govt. sets norms for environment clearance grants to 25 sectors

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has prepared standard conditions to grant environment clearance (EC) for as many as 25 industrial sectors like steel, coal, oil and gas exploration, hydropower projects, industrial estates, complexes, export processing zones (EPZs), special economic zones (SEZs) and biotech parks.

Standard EC conditions will be considered by the government-constituted green panel called Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC). The EAC can modify, delete and add conditions based on project-specific requirements.

According to the Environment Ministry, “In order to bring uniformity on stipulated terms and conditions across the projects and sectors and as a general guidance to the EAC as well as project proponents, the ministry has prepared standard conditions for 25 sectors.”

Ten sets of conditions have been framed by the Ministry to assist the EAC to assess the projects and make recommendations, based on which the Environment Ministry grants the final EC.

In accordance with standard guidelines, project proponents have to fulfill all statutory compliances of environment protection agencies required to set up a plant.

The project proponent will also have to develop 33 per cent of the plant area as green belt and the contractor has to maintain a log book for the purchase and distribution of fuel wood. No construction work other than that permitted in CRZ notification shall be carried out.

In addition, 24×7 emission-monitoring system, online monitoring of effluents, and acoustic enclosure shall be provided to control noise pollution.

An emergency preparedness plan based on the Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) and Disaster Management Plan shall be implemented by every sector. There has to be a separate Environmental Cell equipped with full-fledged laboratory facilities to carry out the environmental management and monitoring functions.

The project proponent shall make the environmental clearance granted public within days and also upload the status of compliance of the stipulated environment clearance conditions, including results of monitored data on their website and update the same on a half-yearly basis.

The Ministry has warned against concealing factual data or submission of false/fabricated data, which may result in revocation of environmental clearance and attract action under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

These conditions are also applicable to integrated iron and steel plants, coke oven plants, sponge iron plants, induction furnace and rolling mills, pellet plants, aluminium smelters, aluminium refineries, asbestos-based industries, mineral beneficiation plants, integrated cement plants, standalone cement grinding units with captive power plants, standalone cement grinding units without captive power plants, tanneries or hide processing industries, paper and pulp industries, open cast coal mines, underground coal mines, and coal washeries

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