Govt eases environment clearance law; smaller constructions to win big

Buildings under construction are seen under the Mumbai skylineAccommodation Times News Service

In a string of changes undertaken by the union government for ease of doing business, the environment ministry has now decided to excuse big realty projects from seeking environment clearance at the state level.

The changes were made in the currently applicable rules and regulations put forward by the ministry under which a construction scheme of more than 20,000 square meters in size had to take up an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).

Following the guidelines of the ministry, the study had to be done in a bid to understand the effect that the construction is likely to have on the surrounding environment. It is only after the project is deemed to be safe by the investigating authority that the State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAA) provides with environmental clearance to the project.

But under the new draft notification issued on April 29, 2016, the buildings between 20,000 square meters -1,50,000 square meters of size will now be relieved from the going through the time consuming procedure of pursuing environmental permit from SEIAA. That is not to say, however, that the builders will now have blanket insulation against such approvals.

They are still expected to get environmental clearance alongside numerous building permissions from the local authorities. Stepping into the shoes of SEIAA, these local authorities will now have an ‘environment cell’ for examining environmental parameters.

The biggest takeaway is for the projects of smaller size (less than 20,000 square meters) as they would get a complete pass just by going through ‘self-declaration’ and ‘certification’ procedures.

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