Industries get 6 months for retrospective green nod

March 17, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 04:35 am IST - New Delhi

Reprieve available for projects that have already begun work

One-time opportunity:The notification lays down several conditions to obtain environmental clearance.

One-time opportunity:The notification lays down several conditions to obtain environmental clearance.

In what could cheer a vast swathe of industries, the Union Environment Ministry has given a six-month window and a “one-time opportunity” to industrial projects functioning without environmental clearance (EC) to apply for a back-dated green certificate.

The reprieve is for projects that started the work on site, expanded the production beyond the limit of EC or changed the product mix without obtaining prior EC, a press statement by the Ministry said late on Thursday.

This is not the first time the Ministry has spelt out a procedure to regularise this category of industrial offenders. The Ministry had laid out rules on 12.12.2012 and 27.06.2013 and laid down a process for granting EC to such cases of violation.

However, the High Court of Jharkhand had passed an order dated the November 28, 2014, declaring some of the provisions void. The National Green Tribunal also ruled that the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 provides for prior environmental clearance, hence no procedure could be laid through the Ministry orders for post-environment clearance.

Reasoning that units could not be allowed to continue pollution unregulated, the Ministry’s latest notification, on March 14, lays down several conditions to obtain a clearance.

These include categorising all projects as ‘grade A,’ or the highest level of scrutiny now required.

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