NGT questions government to exempt small real estate projects from former nod
The National Green Tribunal has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests to re-look at the notification exempting the real estate projects with the total built-up area measuring between 20 thousand and 1,50,000 square meter from gaining prior environment clearance saying that the norm suffers from some legal infirmity.
Ministry of Environment and Forest, in the amendment notification that was published on 9th December 2016, exempted the construction and building projects from the process of environmental impact assessment and the prior environmental clearance. For the smaller projects lesser than 20,000 square meters, it has self-declaration clause which will make sure issuance of permission from the urban-local bodies. For huge projects of more than 20,000 square meter in the size, the green clearance, as well as building permission, will provide by modern-local bodies simultaneously in the integrated format.
Quashing the provision in notification relates to exclusion of the consent to operate as well as the consent to establish under Water Act and Air Act, the National Green Tribunal said that the stipulation with the regard to the functioning and constitution of environment cell, to monitor the adherence to conditions in the environmental clearance, couldn’t be sustained as well as were liable to be set aside.
The direct ministry of environment and forest to re-look its notification as well as take the appropriate steps to amend delete and rectify clauses of notification in light of the judgment. As a result, the bye-laws by Delhi Development Authority the notification was dated March 22, 2016, by the effect too, unless and until the notification dated December 9, 2016, as amended.
The tribunal made it pretty clear that ministry would not implement impugned notifications till the time it complied with the notifies and directions the amended provisions.
It is said that environment ministry should take care that social cause of giving housing to the poor doesn’t get defected by economic profitability, business with the reference to ease of doing the business while protecting the environment.
The National Green Tribunal said that the notification has various deficiencies which go against basic spirit of Environment Protection Act, 198 and EIA notification.
It is said that the ministry has failed to produce any literature, study, evaluation of reason for taking the retrograde decision to go back to a pre-2004 situation where the failure of local bodies was considered to the primary reason for bringing constructions ad building activity within the EIA framework.
The proposal for exemption of the environmental clearance for building and construction project with the built-up area up to 1,50,000 square meters is baseless as there is no study that basically indicates any of the improvement in environmental quality with the regard to all the availability of natural resources/environmental facets, following which there is consideration for relaxation of present norms.
The said amendment notification is a poly to circumvent provisions of the environmental assessment under EIA notification, 2006 in name of ease of doing the responsible business as well as there is no mechanism laid down under amendment notification for assessment, evaluation or monitoring environment impact of the construction and building activity.
The judgment came on the plea filed by the NGO Society for the Protection of Biodiversity and Environment and others do claim that amended bye-laws seek to defeat as well as do away with provisions of EIA notification 2006 which relates to the requirement of environmental clearance by construction and building projects.