The ministry of environment and forests has proposed amendments to the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, in a bid to rationalise the provisions and make it more comprehensive, minister for environment and forests (independent charge) Jairam Ramesh informed the Rajya Sabha.
The proposed amendments include enhancement of threshold limit for construction projects from 20,000 sq m to 50,000 sq m, EIA exemption to modernisation and expansion projects that do not increase pollution load as also to mineral prospecting, biomass-based power plants of up to 50 MW and category 'B' projects (for three years), he said.
The amendmends provide for proactive/voluntary disclosure of information relating to grant of environmental clearance for ensuring effective implementation and enforcement of environmental regulation through the creations of societal vigil, the minister added.
The EIA reports prepared for obtaining environmental clearance comprehensively address various issues relating to different components of environment, including wildlife and natural eco-systems. The terms of reference for undertaking detailed EIA studies are prescribed by the respective sectoral multi-disciplinary expert appraisal committees, taking into account the project location, the proposed developmental activity and the anticipated impacts thereof, he said.
The EIA with respect to land use, flora and fauna for an area up to seven km of the Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (2000 MW), being executed by NHPC, has been completed. However, the NHPC has appointed Guwahati University to study the downstream impact of the project. This study is under progress, the minister said.
For Kameng Hydroelectric Project (600 MW) being executed by NEEPCO, comprehensive environment studies were carried out as per the guidelines of ministry.
In addition, seven new hydroelectric projects, all in Arunachal Pradesh, are in the pipeline for development. These include: the 12x250 MW Dibang project being implemented by NHPC; 2x55=110 MW Pare project (NEEPCO); 5x326=1630 MW Demwe Lower project (Athena Demwe Power Private Ltd); the 8x300=2400 MW Siang Lower project (Jaiprakash Arunachal Power Ltd); the 5x140=700 MW Tato-II project (Tato Hydro Power Pvt Ltd); the 6x150=900 MW Nyamjang Chhu project; and the 2x60=120 MW Dibbin KSK Dibbin Hydro Power Pvt Ltd, he said.