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Government mulls reducing time for granting green clearances

The environment ministry currently grants forest clearances within 180 days, the environment secretary said this time period should be reduced.

environment Updated: Jul 18, 2017 18:06 IST
environmental clearance,cement manufacturers association,forest clearances
The environment ministry currently grants forest clearances within 180 days, the environment secretary said this time period should be reduced.(HT Photo)

The environment ministry is considering reducing the time allotted for granting forest and environment clearances to new industry units from the current 180 days, AN Jha, secretary, ministry of environment and forests said at the Cement Manufacturers Association annual session on Tuesday.

The government is already under fire from activists for allowing project developers to get post facto environmental clearances, giving violators six months from March 14 to apply for clearances. This allows new projects that are already under construction and old ones that are expanding without environmental clearances to do so.

In April the government reviewed the status of pending forest clearances with the aim of expediting the process. There has been a clear thrust to streamline the environmental clearance process under the Modi government, citing ease of business. Environmentalists argue this has come at the cost of environmental protection.

“For forest clearances, the number of days has been reduced from 550 days to 180 days and this certainly needs to be brought down,” Jha said at the event. He also invited suggestions from the industry and other stakeholders to bring down this time line and improve the process.

As per the ministry’s standards, it should not take more than 90-120 days for environmental clearance and 120-150 days for forest clearances, depending on the size of forest diversion, Jha added.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Jul 18, 2017 18:04 IST