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Ministry of Environment wants to exempt projects from seeking green clearances

In the notification, MoEF&CC has said that the Centre is streamlining permissions for buildings and the construction sector to achieve housing for all by 2022, especially for weaker sections in urban areas.

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Ministry of Environment wants to exempt projects from seeking green clearances
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The Centre has proposed to exempt building and construction projects up to 50,000 sqm from the ambit of environmental clearance and merge them with building permissions granted by civic bodies. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has brought out a draft notification to that effect even as a similar notification from 2016, merging clearances with building permissions, was quashed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in December 2017 on grounds that it diluted environmental safeguards.

The ministry later moved Supreme Court to appeal against the NGT order. Project proponents would have to submit a 'self-declaration form' containing all environmental conditions to go along with the application for building permissions. "Thereafter, the local authority may issue building permission incorporating the environmental conditions and allow the project to commence based on these conditions," the draft notification seeking comments, objections and suggestions by April 14, said. The ministry's earlier notification had merged green clearances for constructions between 20,000 sqm and 1,50,000 sqm with building approvals.

In the notification, MoEF&CC has said that the Centre is streamlining permissions for buildings and the construction sector to achieve housing for all by 2022, especially for weaker sections in urban areas.

The Centre's earlier notification from December 2016, too, was brought out on the same grounds and for 'ease of business' in the realty sector. Soon after the Centre's 2016 notification, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) prepared 'unified building bye-laws', even before the Centre's new regime had kicked-in. The NGT had struck down even DDA's bye-laws.

The NGT had stayed the Centre's notification and directed the MoEF&CC to re-examine it and take appropriate steps to delete, amend and rectify it. The NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar had noted that the notification was in conflict with the superior Environment Protection Act, 1986, and termed it a plot to circumvent the provisions of environmental assessment under Environment Impact Notification, 2006, in the name of ease of doing business.

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