The Union Environment and Forests Ministry has decided to revert to the previous limit of 20,000 sq.m. for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) clearance for construction projects.

An EIA notification of 2006 increased the threshold limit to 50,000 sq.m. from 20,000 sq.m. and 100 hectares from 50 hectares for area development projects.

Earlier regime

The return to the earlier regime was mandated on the basis of a report of a committee that was set up to examine comments on the proposed draft amendments to the 2006 notification. In view of concerns from various quarters, the notification has not come into effect till date.

While recommending that the status quo be maintained, the committee took the view that the limit of 20,000 sq.m. itself is a fairly large area in the Indian context. It amounted to 200 apartments in a composite apartment building and the project population would be 1,000, which would require 140 kilolitres of water supply a day and 112 kilolitres of sewage treatment a day, it said.