In a major policy shift, proposals have been mooted to empower Urban local bodies (ULBs) to oversee the effective implementation of environmental norms, with the areas under their purviews being proposed to be increased from 20,000 sq.m. to 50,000 sq.m., Rajneesh Sareen, Programme Director, Sustainable Buildings and Habitat Programme of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has said.
“The draft notification of the Central rules on environment impact assessment (EIA) is ready and in the next few months, it is likely to be passed. The State governments need to incorporate them and urban local bodies need to be ready for environmental integration into the building rules,” he said, on the sidelines of a workshop organised by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) and the CSE here on Tuesday.
Giving more details, he says though the ULBs are implementing the building norms, the environmental provisions are now to be overseen by them.
“For this, a capacity building strategy is needed as the ULBs are the new actors in environmental integration domain. Earlier, the building norms did not have environmental conditions incorporated which will be done now,” Mr. Sareen said.
Site planning, free flow of drainage, water harvesting, liquid and solid waste management, including the segregation are among the areas in which ULBs have to play a major role, he said.
At present, the EIA panels at the State-level are according permission for the project areas above 20,000 sq.m. Once, it is raised to 50,000 sq.m., the new law has a self-declaration provision and the ULBs becomes the engaging bodies with the powers delegated to them.
“Once the Central law is passed, the ULBs should be ready to play the anchor role. For this, they need to update themselves with the expertise needed. Capacity building workshops are now being conducted for the ULBs,” Mr. Sareen told The Hindu .
Some State governments are still in the process of framing the rules in this regard, but Andhra Pradesh has already done it, he added.
“Under the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments, the transition is happening in the service level agreements, liveability index, AMRUT and financial management,” he added.