NEW DELHI: The existing processes for grant of environmental clearance suffered from various procedural deficiencies and there were delays at each stage of the Environment Impact Assessment process, said a report released by the CAG.
The report on ‘Environment Clearance and Post Clearance’ says that each project is treated as a single project for Environment Impact Assessment but cumulative Environment Impact Assess ment which is critical in evaluating impact on environment, was found to be lacking.
“There were variations in the database for the projects granted Environmental Clearance by the Ministry as initially received from the National Informatics cell and that provided by the Ministry. A National Regulator to oversee the entire process of grant of environmental clearance and monitoring is yet to be appointed despite directions of the Supreme Court,” said the report.
The report found serious flaws in the processes including that the environmental clearances were granted to the project proponents without checking the compliance of the conditions mentioned in the previous environmental clearances and recommendations of the regional office.
“There were shortages in compliance of 13 general conditions prescribed in the environmental clearances by the project proponents. The non-compliances noticed were non fulfillment of the environment management plan commitments, maintaining sufficient greenbelt, activities under Enterprise Social Responsibility, change in scope of the projects without requisite approvals and commencement of construction/operations before grant of environmental clearance,” the report found.
It also found that the environment ministry and Central Pollution Control Board did not undertake environmental quality monitoring in Critically Polluted Areas due to non-finalization of the firms for the same.
“No penalty was imposed by the Ministry for violating conditions of environmental clearance in the last two years,” it added.