MoEF's order on green nod stayed
In a major decision that could affect a number of projects across the country, the National Green Tribunal has stayed the operation of a 2010 office memorandum of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) that allowed prospective environment clearances for projects.
The orders were passed in a petition originally filed as a PIL in the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court, which has since been transferred to the Southern Bench of the NGT.
The office memorandum granted powers to the Expert Committee to consider projects which had attained substantial physical progress, for prospective clearances even if the projects had not received a clearance before the commencement of construction.
In his petition, S P Muthuraman from Tirunelveli, said that the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification of 2006 was an important tool for ensuring protection of environment and sustainable development.
However, the office memorandum (OM) that allowed for prospective environment clearances ran counter to the very spirit of the EIA notification.