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Around 750 Projects Awaiting Environmental Clearance: Harsh Vardhan

A total of 741 proposals are awaiting environmental clearance, with 194 from Maharashtra said Dr Harsh Vardhan in a written reply to Rajya Sabha

Photo Credit : Reuters

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On Monday (31 July), Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that around 750 projects in various states are awaiting environmental clearance, with a maximum of 194 from Maharashtra.

A total of 741 proposals are awaiting environmental clearance, with 194 from Maharashtra said Dr Harsh Vardhan in a written reply to Rajya Sabha. He further said that out of the 71 proposals, 95 are from Gujarat and 86 from Uttar Pradesh, which are awaiting environmental clearance.

Various steps have been taken by the environment ministry to speed up the process of disposing the applications for environmental clearance. "They include dedicated online portal for effective monitoring, standardisation of terms of reference for preparation of EIA reports and the Environment Management Plan, exemption from public consultations to certain projects, streamlining the procedure among others," Vardhan said.

On another question about forest based projects approved by the central government during the last three years, he replied that the proposals for forest clearances under the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of forest lands, for non-forestry use are considered by the Ministry and is accorded in two stages.

He said that they are stage I or in principle approval, which mandates conditions to be complied with for the issue of the subsequent stage II or final approval, which is the prior approval of the central government. Therefore after stage I, the conditions to be complied with are mandated effectively, and are moved for issue to the final approval stage, the central government’s prior approval.

The state or UT then issues an order for diversion of forest land on receipt of this prior approval of the central government, he said. The diversion of forest land is then mandated for the non-forest use after the approval of the central government. "A total of 2,196 proposals have been accorded stage I or in principle approval by the central government during the period 2014-2017," he said.

He added, "At present a total of 357 cases are pending for prior approval of the central government under the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 including in Rajasthan."