NEW DELHI: Investigations have revealed that mining companies are obtaining environmental clearances for their projects using fraudulent data.
Coming down heavily on errant consultants, an expert panel of the environment ministry has deferred clearance for several projects after noting lapses in their environmental impact assessment reports.
The panel warned companies that such reports will not be entertained. In a meeting held on November 23-25, the expert committee for environment appraisal of mining projects found four companies used their consultants to submit dubious data on the environmental impact of the projects.
While seeking green clearance, project proponents have to submit the assessment of the impact of their actions on plants, animals and natural resources in the vicinity.
The Ministry for Environment is cracking down on mining companies which use fraudulent data to obtain environmental clearances for their projects.
Based on the EIA (environment impact assessment) reports, projects are recommended for clearance by the expert panel. Conditions are placed on them to mitigate adverse ecological impacts.
The culprits are limestone miners M/s A Dean & Company and M/s Savita Chauhan in Himachal Pradesh, whose reports were prepared by Shivalik Solid Waste Management Limited. Sand mining companies M/s Charites, Real Estate Pvt. Ltd and M/s Zelkova Buildcon Private Limited in Haryana and their consultant M/s Udaipur Min Tech Pvt have also been censured.
The minutes of the panel revealed that in some of the above cases, “the list of fauna authenticated by the Forest Department was also not available in the EIA report,” and the annexures “were illegible and it was not possible to read the contents.”
The Committee told consultants that such reports will not be entertained in the future, according to the minutes of the meeting. The noose around errant consultants is tightening. In February MoEFCC placed a one-year ban on Mantec Consultants which had prepared EIA reports for projects lacking permissions by the ministry.