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Controversial new EIA guidelines come into effect from tomorrow

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Sep 14 (UNI) The controversial new Environment Impact Assessment(EIA) guidelines will come into effect from tomorrow, giving states sweeping powers to clear construction projects of any value, and exempting automobile industry and flyovers from assessment.

The guidelines, cleared by the PMO early this month, were signed by the Minister of Environment and Forest A Raja today and will be notified tomorrow, a Ministry official said.

The construction industry will now not have to look up to the Centre for clearance of its project, a provision that has been strongly opposed by NGOs and public bodies.

The provision of public hearing before giving a goahead to builders has also been done away with in the final notification.

In the draft notification, there was a limit of 20,000 sqm built up area for projects not needing central clerance, but now all these limits have been withdrawn and states can clear construction projects of any magnitude.

The changes, much to the builders' relief, have been brought after intense pressure by states, sources in the Ministry said.

The cost of the projects is no more among the criteria for their categorisation. Different criteria have been set up for different sector.

Environment NGOs like the Campaign for Environmental Justice (CEJ) had been opposing the powers given to states, arguing that they were not technically well equipped to assess the impact on environment of big construction projects.

The construction industry had been seeking complete exemption from EIA guidelines, saying that it would hinder the growth of real estate.

Now for even mega projects, the builders will not have to look up to the Centre.


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