Mumbai: The State government has substantially increased the processing fee, effective Monday, for major infrastructure projects seeking environmental clearances. The 50% hike and over will be implemented in five categories. The hike is co-related to the cost of projects starting at ₹1 crore and reaching up to over ₹1,000 crore.
The environmental clearance fee was introduced in the State after Gujarat and Tamil Nadu implemented it in 2014. The minimum fee, which was restricted to the range of ₹1 lakh to ₹15 lakh, has now reached the range of ₹1.5 lakh to ₹20 lakh in all categories.
The fee is imposed by the State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), both dealing with smaller projects not making it to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
The new hike has been effected as per the directive of the State finance ministry, which had asked all departments to increase their revenue collections. The fee is also used to pay for the administrative expenses of the SEAC and the SEIAA, members of the committee said.
“The hike is based on a Central directive-2000, which allows charge of the fee for giving clearances of the coastal regulation zone permissions, and carrying out the environmental impact assessment. This is in addition to the Supreme Court judgement on polluters to pay principle,” an official said.