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BVAAP Vol.17(2) [December 2009] >

Title: Environmental impact assessment & environment management
Authors: Sharma, Niraj
Dev, Pankaj Dutt
Gangopadhyay, S
Dhyani, Rajni
Issue Date: Dec-2009
Publisher: CSIR
Abstract:  Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an important tool for integrating the objectives of environmental management into the decision making process to ensure environmentally sound and sustainable development. Earlier, any developmental project/activity were reviewed keeping in view the technical feasibility and financial viability of the project only. However, with the introduction of concept of EIA the environmental considerations have also been included as one of the factors to be considered while deciding about the feasibility and sustainability of any developmental/industrial project/activity. In fact, the main purpose of EIA is to mitigate adverse environmental impacts (if any) of any project/activity and bringing them to an acceptable level and to project the community likely to be affected by the proposed project. In India, EIA was started in 1976-1977 to examine the river valley projects from environmental angle. But during that time it lacked legislative support. On 27th of January 1994, EIA notification  [under the environmental (Protection) Act (1986)] was issued by which EIA process became "statutory requirement" rather than an "administrative requirement" for a number of projects/activities likely to have significant environmental impacts and health implications. Since then, the EIA notification has undergone several amendments incorporating provisions for "Public Hearing" and bringing in several important projects/activities into the purview of EIA, requiring "Environmental Clearance" by Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), Govt of India. To further improve the EIA procedure in India, EIA notification was revised on September 14th, 2006. According to the notification, different projects/developmental activities have been divided into 8 major heads requiring "Environmental Clearance" (EC) either from Central Government, i.e. MoEF (Category 'A') or at State Level from State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) (Category 'B'). The category 'B' has been further divided into category 'B1'(project requires to submit EIA report) and 'B2' project activities which don't require EIA report). All categories 'A' and 'B1' projects necessarily have to carry out EIA studies along with the "public Hearing" as per the procedure stipulated in the notification. In the draft notification (January 19th 2009), revised "threshold criteria" have been introduced for different project categories. Further, an effort has also been made to make EIA procedure more transparent and to provide societal vigil of projects affecting the environment through "Public Hearing/ Consultation" by moving the environment protection agenda into public domain.
Page(s): 101-107
ISSN: 0975-2412 (Online); 0771-7706 (Print)
Source:BVAAP Vol.17(2) [December 2009]

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