Draft EIA Notification 2020: Deadline Extended

Draft EIA Notification 2020: Deadline Extended

Recently, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MOEFCC), extended the deadline for public comments for draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2020 by 45 days amidst the nationwide lockdown due to Covid 19 pandemic. The new deadline 30th June, 2020.

What is the Deadline about ?

MOEFCC had shared Draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2020 vide S.O. 1199(E) dated the 23rd March, 2020 in the official gazette on 11th April, 2020, for the information of the public and for making any objections or suggestions on the proposal contained in the draft notification.

The ministry after due consideration, has now extended the notice period up to 30th June, 2020, so any person interested in making any objections or suggestions on the proposals contained in the draft notification may forward the same in writing for consideration of the Central Government before 30th June 2020 to:

  • The Secretary,
    Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,
    Indira Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh Road, Aliganj, New Delhi-110003,
  • or send the same on the e-mail address: eia2020-moefcc@gov.in

What is the Draft EIA Notification 2020 ?

This Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020 is set to replace and supersede the EIA Notification 2006, which is currently in use.

EIA is an important process for evaluating the likely environmental impact of a proposed project. It is a process whereby people’s views are taken into consideration for granting final approval to any developmental project or activity. It is basically, a decision-making tool to decide whether the project should be approved or not.

The draft notification is issued under the powers vested in the central government under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to take all such measures for “protecting and improving the quality of the environment.

According to the government, the new notification is being brought in order to make the process more transparent and expedient by the implementation of an online system, further delegation, rationalisation and standardisation of the process. However, the environmentalist claim that it will fundamentally change the environmental regulatory regime.

As per them, there are many alarming clauses in the draft notification including the concept of post facto clearance. The post-facto approval for projects means that the clearances for projects can be awarded even if they have started construction or have been running phase without securing environmental clearances. In 2017, post-facto clearance given to projects in Tamil Nadu was struck down by the Madras high court.

Additionally, the violations can only be reported by the project developer himself and/or government authorities. Not citizens or the civil society.

New construction projects up to 1,50,000 sq m do not need detailed scrutiny by an expert committee or EIA. Earlier it was 20,000 sq m. The draft notification provides for a reduction of the time period from 30 days to 20 days for the public to submit their responses during a public hearing for any application seeking environmental clearance.

For detailed Draft Notification, Click here.