Making green norms more business friendly, the environment ministry has now allowed project proponents to seek environment clearance without mandatory land acquisition.
In a change in rules notified last week, the ministry said that documentary evidence to suggest that the process of land acquisition has started would be more than enough to appraise the project and grant environment clearance.
The change became possible as the ministry opined that the environment clearance is site specific under the Environment Impact Assessment notification of 2006 and any change in the site would make the approval invalid.
“It may, however, be noted that the EC granted for a project on the basis of the aforesaid documents shall become invalid in case the actual land for the project site turns out to be different and mentioned in the EC,” the office memorandum issued with respect to land acquisition said.
The amendment in the rules was made after several infrastructure ministries and industry associations told the environment ministry that the condition was a cause for delay in project acquisition.
Considering the plea, the ministry said there should be some credible document to show the process of land acquisition has been initiated.
In another business friendly measure, the ministry has imposed a restriction on its Expert Appraisal Committee that recommends environment clearance from seeking more environmental studies at the time of final consideration of the project, called stage-II approval process.
The ministry said that the EAC should recommend environment studies at the time of approving the terms of reference for the project also called stage-I approval process. This condition was also imposed on suggestion of industry bodies.