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Friday, 14 December, 2018

NGT stays EC power to local bodies

Story: The | Goan | 06th December 2018, 03:37 Hrs

PANAJI: The National Green Tribunal has issued a stay on the notification of the Ministry of Environment and Forests & Climate Change which had granted local bodies like municipalities, development authorities the power to grant environmental clearance (EC) for construction projects with built up area between 20,000 sq meters to 50, 000 sq meters and industrial sheds, educational institutions, hospitals and hostels for educational institutions more between 20,000 sq. meters and up to 1,50,000 sq meters along with building permission.
Prior to the said notification, Environment Impact Assessment was being done by the MoEF&CC itself.
In its order the NGT pointed to an earlier order by the Tribunal which held that failure of the local bodies to apply the law which has led to large scale violation of town and country planning laws and the resultant environmental degradation.
“If such constructions are exempted from the purview of the Expert Appraisal Committee, it
will amount to failure to protect the environment, which is the duty of the MoEF&CC under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986… De-centralisation of mechanism regulation may be desirable but the same has to be by a credible mechanism,” the NGT principal bench ruled.
“In view of settled law on the point, we are prima facie of the view that mechanism in the impugned notification to substitute the existing mechanism will fall short of the requirement of the principle of ‘Sustainable Development’ and ‘Precautionary Principle’ which are part of Article 21 of the Constitution as laid down by the Supreme Court… Accordingly, while issuing notice, we stay operation of the impugned notification and direct that existing mechanism, prior to this notification will continue till further orders,” the NGT ruled.
The order of the MoEF&CC was issued on November 14, and was challenged by one Shashikant Vithal Kamble.