Centre is planning to set up an expert panel to examine projects for which environment clearance (EC) is sought after starting the work on ground.

The panel will give clearance to such projects after taking assurance on remedial measures for any environmental loss and possible violations, as per the proposal.

Such a plan is being thought of as the Environment Ministry has received some proposals seeking approval for ‘Terms of References’ and ‘Environmental Clearance’ for projects which have started work on site, expanded production beyond the limit of EC or changed the product mix without obtaining prior EC.

In a draft notification issued in this regard for public comments within 60 days, the Ministry said that the government will treat those projects or activities for which EC is being obtained after starting the work on ground as “cases of violation”.

In absence of expert group at any state, the case will be appraised at the ministry level, the notification said.

The Expert Group would prepare an ESP for restoration of the damage caused to the environment and for further improvement of the environment.
“The project proponent shall give the consent for implementation of the ESP under the monitoring of the Expert Group, and satisfactory implementation of the ESP shall form one of the specific conditions of the environmental clearance,” the notification said.

The process of appraisal of the project for grant of environmental clearance and preparation of ESP would be carried out simultaneously, it added.