Ministry of Environment and Forests
NAGPUR/MUMBAI: Full land acquisition will no longer be a pre-requisite for a project seeking environment clearance (EC). The Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has said credible documents will be considered adequate by the environment appraisal committees (EAC) and state environment appraisal committees (SEAC) while scrutinizing proposals.
The MoEF also made seeking environment clearance for development projects within 10km from national parks and wildlife sanctuaries easier. The proposals will now be directly dealt by the National Board for Wildlife standing committee, led by Union environment minister, instead of the state wildlife boards. The ruling is in line with the Modi government giving a leg-up to infrastructural projects and reducing "unnecessary rules" that hindered "general growth". It is likely to expedite works relating to mining, road widening, irrigation, industries, power plants and installation of transmission lines.
In an office memorandum issued early this month, the MoEF has said that in case the land for a project is proposed to be acquired through government intervention, then a copy of preliminary notification issued by the state government concerned for land acquisition as per the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, can be submitted. In case the land is being acquired through private negotiations with land owners, then credible document showing intent of the land-owners to sell it for the proposed project is to be submitted.
The office memorandum has been issued as there were no guidelines on the criteria to be followed with regard to the extent of land needed to be acquired to obtain an EC for a project. All EACs/SEACs had been applying different criteria. The MoEF has warned that the EC will be invalid in case the actual land for the project turns out to be different from the one considered at the time of appraisal and mentioned in the EC. The Confederation of Indian Industry welcomed the move and said it will help fast-track the clearance process.
If land for a project is being acquired through govt intervention, then a copy of preliminary notification issued by the state can be submitted. If it is being acquired through private negotiations, then a document showing intent of the land-owners to sell it for the project is to be submitted.