Indian environmental law has seen considerable development in the last two decades. Most of the principles under which environmental law works in India today were assembled over the last two-decade. A predominant share of the essence of the existing law relating to the environment has developed through careful judicial thinking in the Supreme Court and the High Courts of the States. The client should, in the wake of the various environmental hazards that are likely to result due to activities like those undertaken by the client should make sure:
Projects need to be plan more comprehensively after consultation with the concerned authorities and keep them in the loop as the project progresses.
That feasible time limits are set by the authorities in the first place so that they can be complied with and seek extensions beforehand if necessary.
Seek updates from the authorities in case of difficulty in implementation so that they do not face liability in the future.
The compliances which are done meet satisfactory standards instead of being a mere formality.
The following is the broad process of getting Green Clearances in India:
The details in the broad clearances will be further elaborated:
There are basically two stages in a forest clearance under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980:
The process of environmental clearance can be broadly divided into three levels:
Level I: Application granted with Terms Of Reference (TOR) from the MoEFCC
Level II: Application under the process of EIA, public hearing and allied studies as specified by TOR
Level III (A): Application awaiting final clearance after submission of necessary documents to the EAC
Level III (B): Application granted with the final clearance
Further, post the clearance it is mandatory for project management to submit half-yearly compliance reports in respect of the stipulated prior environmental clearance terms and conditions in hard and soft copies to the regulatory authority concerned, on 1st June and 1st December of each calendar year. The latest of such compliance report shall also be displayed on the website of the concerned regulatory authority.
LIST OF PROJECTS OR ACTIVITIES REQUIRING PRIOR ENVIRONMENTAL CLEARANCE
Prior environmental clearance for Category A required from Central Government (MoEF) and for Category B from State level the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).
General Condition (GC):
Any project or activity specified in Category ‘B’ will be treated as Category A, if located in whole or in part within 10 km from the boundary of: (i) Protected Areas notified under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, (ii) Critically Polluted areas as notified by the Central Pollution Control Board from time to time, (iii) Notified Eco-sensitive areas, (iv) inter-State boundaries and international boundaries.
Specific Condition (SC):
If any Industrial Estate/Complex / Export processing Zones /Special Economic Zones/Biotech Parks / Leather Complex with homogeneous type of industries such as Items 4(d), 4(f), 5(e), 5(f), or those Industrial estates with pre –defined set of activities (not necessarily homogeneous, obtains prior environmental clearance, individual industries including proposed industrial housing within such estates /complexes will not be required to take prior environmental clearance, so long as the Terms and Conditions for the industrial estate/complex are complied with (Such estates/complexes must have a clearly identified management with the legal responsibility of ensuring adherence to the Terms and Conditions of prior environmental clearance, who may be held responsible for violation of the same throughout the life of the complex/estate).
Industrial projects located in any of the following notified ecologically fragile/sensitive areas would require environmental clearance irrespective of the type of project:
• Religious and historic places
• Archaeological monuments
• Scenic areas
• Hill resorts
• Beach resorts
• Coastal areas rich in mangroves, corals, breeding grounds of specific species
• Gulf areas
• Biosphere reserves
• National parks and sanctuaries
• National lakes and swamps
• Seismic Zones
• Tribal settlements
• Areas of scientific and geological interest
• Defence installations, especially those of security importance and sensitive to pollution
• Border areas (international)