Policy Engagements and Blogs

Anatomy of legalising violations: Examining Environment Ministry’s policy of post facto approvals

27 July 2017

Between March 15, 2017 and June 15, 2017, 207 projects that violated the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification applied for an environmental clearance. These applications have come as a result of a notification that the Environment Ministry had passed on March 14, 2017, which gives an opportunity to projects that have violated conditions of the EIA Notification to apply for a clearance within a period of six months, that is by September 15.

This notification was passed despite much criticism of the notification that was issued on May 10, 2016. Read Manju Menon and Kanchi Kohli’s comments on the draft notification here. They also wrote an opinion piece titled Environment Ministry to Bend Over Backwards to Whitelist Illicit Projects for The Wire.

The CPR-Namati Environmental Justice Program has analysed these applications to see what are the kinds of geographical and sectorial spread of these violations and whether there are any trends emerging out of the applications that have come in till June 15, in its working paper From Prior to Post: Legalising Environmental Violations.

The Environment Ministry has already started looking at the applications through a Committee that has been set up for this. This Committee is headed by Dr S R Wate and had its first meeting on June 22, 2017. The Committee, in its first meeting, has examined ten applications. Out of these ten applications, the committee has already recommended seven for grant for a Terms of Reference subject to conditions, which means that these projects are eligible for environmental clearance.

This working paper would be updated with further analysis of these applications as well as of new ones, and will also track the progress of all applications.