|Faster clearance, tougher penalty is new thrust in environment law
Written by Amitabh Sinha | New Delhi |
Indian Express, Posted: November 19, 2014
a complete overhaul of the existing environmental governance framework,
a government-appointed expert committee has recommended measures that
would make it easier to set up industrial or infrastructure projects,
but would also ensure that those who flout pollution norms or violate
green laws are penalised heavily.
Among the measures suggested
by the four-member committee headed by former Cabinet Secretary T S R
Subramanian are: creation of new institutions — National Environment
Management Agency (NEMA) and State Environment Management Agencies
(SEMA), a new “All India Environment Service”, a “national laboratory”
that will host a databank of all environmental parameters, and
introduction of digital and “non-tamperable” methods of monitoring
It has also proposed a new law to give a legal
framework to all these and strict punishment for defaulters. While a
first offence would be punished with a heavy fine, a repeat offence
would straightaway invite closure of the unit or project.
new environment protection regime needs to be backed by the right
people, right laws, right technology and right knowledge,”
told The Indian Express after his committee handed over its report to
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday.
also comprising former Environment Secretary Viswanath Anand, retired
Delhi High Court Judge Justice A K Srivastav, and former Additional
Solicitor General K N Bhat, was asked to review six environment-related
laws with the aim of bringing them “in line with current requirements”.
said as far as the approval and compliance mechanism (for environmental
appraisal of projects) was concerned, the committee had placed its
trust in the principle of “utmost good faith”. “The industry or the
agency putting up the project can be allowed to certify its own
assessments of the environmental impact and propose measures to
mitigate these in an affidavit. The appraising agency, equipped with
data and technology, can accept these after proper verification.
But once the clearance is awarded and the industry is found to be
violating its own affidavit or any other rule or law, heavy penalties
should be imposed immediately,” he said.