New environment law cuts time for hearings

A set of key updates to India’s Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Act, the law that governs how the threat posed by large infrastructure projects to the environment ought to be evaluated, proposes to reduce the time given to people to air objections.

The draft EIA notification proposes to be an update to the EIA of 2006, which specifies a “minimum of 30 days” for people to respond. The current version of the update, which will likely become law in 60 days, gives a “minimum of 20 days” of notice period. It also requires that the public-hearing process be wrapped up in 40 days, as opposed to the existing norm of 45 days.

Under the process, an organisation has to submit a detailed plan explaining the nature, need, and remedial measures, if their proposed project could significantly impact a region. A committee constituted by the Union Environment Ministry then decides on whether the project should be cleared.