Govt issues standardized green conditions for infra, construction projects

Fresh Rules: Order covers infra, construction projects

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Govt issues standardized green conditions for infra, construction projects
The conditions are for infra, construction projects like airports, ports, ropeways

In yet another push for easing the environmental clearance regime, the government has now standardised the conditions for infrastructure, construction projects such as airports, ports, ropeways and townships. This follows the first such standardisation order that was brought out in August last year for 25 sectors such as cement plants, dam projects and coal washeries among others.

The Union Environment Ministry has brought out an office memorandum to this effect which details some of the general conditions that will apply to these sectors and certain specific conditions that mandate scientific studies during the appraisal of the project.

"The standard environmental clearance conditions have been prepared for expediting the process of environmental clearance without compromising environmental norms and the rigour of environment impact assessment," the office memorandum stated.

Ports, harbours and dredging category of projects is among those included under the standardisation process. This largely comes in the wake of government's ambitious Sagarmala project which has proposed large-scale infrastructures development of ports and allied activities. The government has identified 415 projects worth an estimated investment of Rs 8 lakh crore under Sagarmala programme, a government note from 2017 stated. Sagarmala comprises of port development, port connectivity and port-linked industrialization between 2015 and 2035.

For ports, harbour and dredging projects, the OM stated specific conditions which require monitoring of dredging so as to not affect fish breeding and spawning seasons. It has also stated that an independent dredging should be carried out through government agency to assess impact of dredging.

The OM added that the clearance conditions can be modified and enhanced on a case to case basis. The document states that wherever applicable, statutory compliances such as wildlife clearance, forest clearance, site-specific conservation and wildlife management plan, and groundwater abstraction permissions would have to fulfilled. Also, it would be mandatory to obtain the permissions from pollution control boards.

Among the general conditions, the OM has stated that air quality monitoring, water quality monitoring, noise monitoring, energy conservation measures, waste management, green belt development would be necessary for infrastructure and construction projects.

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