Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)
EIA in India : Notification 27 January 1994
EIA was legally introduced in India when we got our first Govt. Notification in year 1994. This notification is the base of present EIA system (2006 Notification). So, we will briefly study 1994 notification and will then switch to the new notification which is followed right now in India.
EIA Notification 27th Jan1994
The environment impact process was integrated into the Indian legal system in 1994 when Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification came into existence
The objective of the Notification was to push for more sustainable industrialisation process in the country after giving due consideration to environmental and social impacts
“Any person who desires to undertake any new project in any part of India or the expansion or modernization of any existing industry or project listed in the Schedule-I shall submit an application to the Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi”
Schedules in 1994 Notification
The notification had 4 schedules:
The notification imposed restrictions on setting up, modernising or expanding any new project or proposal without getting an environmental clearance from the government. All projects listed in Schedule 1 to get an environmental clearance from the Central government, be it, for setting or expanding any plant anywhere in the country. Also listed a number of projects/proposals, which have been exempted from the environment clearance process or public hearing. The notification also made provisions for formation of an Impact Assessment Agency (IAA), which essentially consisted of experts for review of the documents submitted to the MoEF for clearance
EIA notification 1994 was amended 12 times in 11 years
Schedule I : EIA 1994
The Schedule gives the list of all industries that need Environmental Clearance before starting their construction. THe table is just provided for information; not required now as we follow 2006 notification.
Public Hearing Exempted for some projects
The EIA should not harm basic economic development and mandatory project, keeping this in mind some projects were exempted (they were not required to do public hearing) from public hearning, however they were supposed to do EIA
Amendment : 10 April 1997
The process of environmental public hearing (EPH) was introduced in the environmental clearance process. The SPCBs were entrusted to conduct public hearing to get the views and concerns of the affected community and interested parties for the proposed project
It was also entrusted with forming an EPH committee to ensure fair representation in the public hearing process
Amendment : June 2002
It exempted pipeline and highway projects from preparing the EIA report, but these projects would have to conduct public hearings in all the districts through which the pipeline or highway passes.
Exempted, if the investment was less than Rs 100 crore for new projects and less than Rs. 50 crore for expansion/modernisation projects (Loophole)
Amendment : 2003
Took into consideration location-sensitivity into the environment clearance process
And many other amendments till year 2005…
Application Form : Form A
The application form for seking EIA was called Form A which consist details of:
- Name and Address of the project proposed, Location of the project etc
- Objectives of the project
- Land Details (requirement, topography, pollution sources within 10km radius, distance from National Park, green belt plan, compensatory afforestation etc)
- Climate and Air Quality
- Water balance
- Solid wastes
- Noise and Vibrations
- Risk Assessment, power requirement, Displacement and rehabilitation plan, Disaster Management, Labour force and their health care etc.
Procedure for seeking EC in 1994
Composition of Expert Committee
- Eco-system Management
- Air/Water Pollution Control
- Water Resource Management
- Flora/Fauna conservation and management
- Land Use Planning
- Social Sciences/Rehabilitation
- Project Appraisal
- Environmental Health
- Subject Area Specialists
- Representatives of NGOs/persons concerned with environmental issues (Maximum 15)
The State Pollution Control Board shall cause a notice for environmental public hearing which shall be published in at least two newspapers widely circulated in the region around the project, one of which shall be in the vernacular language of the locality concerned
State Pollution Control Board shall mention the date, time and place of public hearing
Suggestions, views, comments and objections of the public shall be invited within thirty days from the date of publication of the notification
Who can Participate in Public Hearing ??
- any person who is likely to be affected by the grant of environmental clearance
- any person who owns or has control over the project with respect to which an application has been submitted for environmental clearance
- any association of persons whether incorporated or not like to be affected by the project and/or functioning in the field of environment
- any local authority within any part of whose local limits is within the neighbourhood wherein the project is proposed to be located
They can also make oral/written suggestions to the State Pollution Control Board
Public Hearing Panel
1994 Notification : Constraints
- Cumbersome procedure
- Burden on Central Government and clearance took more than a year
- Delay in appraisal meetings
- Time consuming and requiring undue effort
- Poor quality of EIA studies by consultants
Due to all these constraints the new notification came in 2006 and is followed till date in India.
EIA Notification 14 September 2006
To overcome the loopholes of 1994 notification, on 14 September 2006 new EIA notication was published by MoEF.
This has overrided the old notification and is presently followed strictly in India.
To formulate a transparent, decentralized and efficient regulatory mechanism to:
- Incorporate necessary environmental safeguards at planning stage
- Involve stakeholders in the public consultation process
- Identify developmental projects based on impact potential instead of the investment criteria
Which project require EC ???
Categorization of projects and activities
Category A needs to take EC from Central Government however, Category B by State Government.
Categorization based on :
- spatial extent of impacts
- impacts on natural and man made resources
- impacts on human health
The projects were broadly divided into 8 major categories and industries were listed according under them
- Mining, extraction of natural resources and power generation
- Primary Processing
- Material Production
- Material Processing
- Service Sectors
- Physical Infrastructure including Environmental Services
- Building /Construction projects/Area Development projects and Townships
When B Category becomes A ??
this means if even a small part of project is within 10km radius of these four mentioned area that the project proponent needs to go to center for approval. Approval from Center is always difficult as the projects are evaluated at National level.
General Conditions are one of the most important point mentioned in 2006 notifiation.
Specific Condition (SC):
Project Category - 1
In case of Mining Projects
If the mining area is more than or equal to 50 hactares then the proponent needs to go to Center for EC however, if the area is less than 50 hactares then the proponent will take EC from State.
But if the mining is for asbestos; even for a very small mining area the proponent needs to go to Center.
Geenral Conditins shall apply for clearance.
General Condition (GC)
We have discussed it in previous chapter, but it is one of the most imporatant part of 2006 Notification thus again mentioned seperatly and clearly
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:
1. Protected Areas notified under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972,
2. Critically Polluted areas as notified by the Central Pollution Control Board from time to time (Example Delhi, Kanpur, Gaziabad etc)
3. Notified Ecologically sensitivity areas (list given by CPCB; Airports, Esturies, corals etc)
4. Inter-State boundaries and international boundaries
Suppose you are a proponant and you want to start a project in Punjab which is near to Himachal Pradesh border. Though your site is not critically polluted and is not near to protected area/ecologically sensitive area, but as you are near to State border (10km radius) therefore you need to take EC from Center, MoEF.
Environmental Clearance (EC) by Whom ???
In Center we have MoEF to give clearance who do so with the suggestion of their Technical committee called Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC)
Every State has their SEIAA (State Govt.) to give clearance by the lines of their Technical Committee called (SEAC).
Remember a very important point that MoEF and SEIAA are the signatories however EAC and SEAC are the technical committee who see the technical aspects of projects (have experts from all environmental fields)
Expert Committees in EIA
- Expert Appraisal Committees (EACs) at the Central Government
- State Expert Appraisal Committees (SEAC) at the State or the Union territory
EAC and SEAC are responsible for screening, scoping and appraising projects