Such short time period is not enough for inspecting the site, making reports, said Stalin Dayanand, project director of Vanashakti.
Mumbai: The Centre has recently made changes to the procedure of environment clearances in its draft notification of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), which has given powers to municipal bodies and involve creating district and state level committees to look into clearances for building and construction sector.
Mumbai based environmentalists have stated that the changes have eased the procedure for big builders. The Union Environment Ministry published the zero draft of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2019 on May 3. It has proposed that the power of environment clearance for townships and development projects with built-up area more than 150,000 square metres will be delegated at the state level authorities, which, activists believe, needs to be maintained by centre to avoid builder-politician nexus.
“Delegating powers that were at central level before is not a good move and will open the door for further nexus. They have added that now the permissions should be given within 15 days and in case of failure, developers can go ahead.
Such short time period is not enough for inspecting the site, making reports,” said Stalin Dayanand, project director of Vanashakti.
The notification also states that for B2 category projects pertaining to mining of minor mineral including sand, no EIA report is required. “Now DEIAA (district environment impact assessment authority) will look into B2 projects. The collector chairing the committee does not have the infrastructure to check into the rivers and creeks. There is a mafia around sand mining, which the collector has not been able to control till now, given the government officers are in risk of attacks,” said Sumaira Abdulali, Founder of Awaaz Foundation.
“This is case of a conflict of interest as the state and civic bodies will have to now deal with environment clearance of their own development projects. We need to look into independent bodies for the procedure,” said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.