Centre wants to dilute environment clearance norms for irrigation projects, mining of 47 minerals

The central government wants to dilute environmental clearance regulations for irrigation projects and the mining of 47 minerals, including sand, marble, limestone and brick earth.

In a draft notification issued on December 18, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has proposed that projects irrigating up to 5,000 hectares be exempted from environment clearance. Currently, all projects irrigating over 2,000 hectares require the clearance from the Centre or the state government concerned.

The ministry also wants state governments to get greater responsibility for assessing environmental impact of irrigation projects. Under the proposed norms, state authorities would be able to clear projects irrigating up to 50,000 hectares instead of the current 10,000 hectares. Projects irrigating over 50,000 hectares would require clearance from the Centre.

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Courtesy: Scroll.in

National Green Tribunal strikes down Environment Cell

CHENNAI : The move by the State government to amend the Development Control Rules and create an Environment Cell in Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority suffered a blow after the National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s principal bench in New Delhi quashed a Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notification of 2016, which ordered setting up the facility. The Union Environment Ministry notification had specified constitution of the cell by the local body and the State government recently held a crucial meeting to bring in changes in its development regulations.

However, the Green Tribunal comprising Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, Justice Jawad Rahim (judicial member) and Bikram Singh Sajwan (Expert Member) in its order said the setting up environment cell in the local body will result in a conflict of interest.In its order passed in the first week of December, the Green Tribunal observed, “As per the notification of Union Ministry of Environment, Environmental Cell is to be constituted by the local authority or the State Government, whereas the implementation of the environmental law is vested with the Central Government.”

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Courtesy: The New Indian Express

E-waste provisioning may put pressure on electronic goods companies

MUMBAI: Electronic goods companies, including multinationals that have been operating in India for at least a decade, could see pressure on profit due to a proposed rule on electronic waste disposal and its treatment under current accounting standards. Companies such as Samsung, LG, Apple and Nokia will be required to collect a predetermined percentage of the goods they sell every year, stretching back over the past 10 years.

Under Indian Account Standards (Ind-AS), the companies will be required to provision for this cost in the current fiscal, leading to a possible erosion in earnings. They have asked the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to amend the rule and strip out its retrospective nature.

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Courtesy: The Economic Times

Environment ministry may empower state bodies to grant green clearances

New Delhi: The union environment ministry has proposed to transfer some of its powers to state-level bodies while deciding on green clearances to projects related to non-coal mining, irrigation and townships.

Environmentalists slammed the proposal as an abdication of responsibility by the environment ministry which would lead to arbitrary decisions making by state-level bodies, potentially weakening environmental regulations.

Under the draft notification published on Monday, the Harsh Vardhan-led ministry proposes to amend Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2006 regulations to transfer its powers to grant environment clearances to non-coal mines, river valley and irrigation projects and townships till a certain threshold to the state-level environment impact assessment authority (SEIAA).

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Courtesy: Hindustan times

834 factories across Maharashtra shut down in 2 years for causing pollution: MPCB

In response to an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act filed by citizens’ group Watchdog Foundation, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) released a statement that it has shut down 834 polluting factories over the last two years.

These factories, located in Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area, were asked to shut down after investigations by the MPCB revealed that they had violated the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

P Anbalagan, member secretary, MPCB, said, “We asked these factories to shut down as a last resort, after they repeatedly failed to comply with environmental laws. We were forced to take this action on the basis of the severity of the violations.” He also added that there are over 90,000 factories in the state, which meant that less than 1% of the factories were found to violate pollution control laws.

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Courtesy: hindustan times

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