Admitting that the present system of preparing environmental assessment report is flawed, Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh today said the Ministry would now seek third-party opinion to evaluate the projects.
He also informed that the Ministry would soon map the wetland areas in the country to formulate a better definition of the same.
The Minister said the present system of preparing environmental assessment report is flawed and the Ministry itself would take third party opinion on environment in projects like coal, power and construction of ports.
“We have done the satellite mapping of all wet lands in the country. We have wetland atlas of every state which will be released by month-end. So far we did not follow scientific approach of wetland management as in revenue record, wet land is recorded as waste land. All these are legacies of the past. We will clean up the system,” the Minister told reporters on the sidelines of Green Landscape Summit-2011 organised by CII.
He also ridiculed the present system of preparing the environmental assessment report by the company itself which is proposing to set up a project.
“Environmental impact assessment report is bit of joke. I admit it publicly. In our system the person who is putting up the project will be preparing the assessment report. I have been very concerned about this. Supreme Court has also expressed its concern,” Mr. Ramesh said.
He said the Ministry has accredited more than 200 consultants who are authorised to prepare environmental assessment reports and the Government would accept their assessment.
He, however, cautioned that if the Government finds that there are misrepresentations in the consultants’ report, they would cancel the accreditation.
“We have blacklisted three consultants for producing fraudulent environmental assessment report,” he said.
Replying to a query, the Minister said the Government had issued notices to East Coast Energy and Nagarjuna Constructions, which are setting up projects in Srikakulam District and received their replies.
“We had asked for certain information which has been provided. If the law is violated, there is no questioning of condoning the violations,” he said.
On Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh, he said Chhattisgarh and Orissa Government have to conduct public opinion and soon there will be an official level meeting among the State Governments and Ministry.