Environmental Regulations that a Company needs to follow: Part II
By Arunesh Bhardwaj July 29, 2016
ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS CONTD...
Public Consultation [Para 7 (i) (III) and Appendix IV of the notification]
It comprises the concerns of locally affected person and others having plausible stake in the environmental impacts of the project. This has to be undertaken by all the projects in the Category ‘A’ and ‘B1’; with the following exceptions:
- Modernization of irrigation project.
- Expansion of roads and highways not involving acquisition of land.
- Projects concerning National Defence etc.
Public consultation mainly comprises of two components:
- Public hearing at the site or at its close proximity in manner that has been prescribed in Appendix IV.
- Obtain response in writing from other concerned persons having a plausible stake in the environmental impact from the concerned project or activity.
- To be held at the site of the project or in close proximity of the project.
- Conducted by the State Pollution Control Board [SPCB]
- Manner prescribed in the Appendix IV.
- Forwarded to the regulatory authorities within forty five days.
If SPCB is not able to conduct the public hearing then the regulatory authority will engage some other public agency within a period of 45 days. If the appointed public agency is also not able to hold the public meeting, it will report the facts in detail to the concerned regulatory authority, which may decide that public consultation in that particular case is not required.
For obtaining responses from the concerned persons having a plausible stake, the regulatory authority will be inviting responses from such concerned persons by placing the summary of the EIA report on their website within seven days of the receipt of the request seeking public hearing.
After public consultation is completed, the applicant will address all the environmental concerns and will make appropriate changes in the draft EIA and Environment Management Plans [EMP]. The applicant will finally submit the report prepared to the concerned regulatory authority for appraisal.
In this a detailed scrutiny of the application, final EIA report, outcome of the public hearing is scrutinized by the EAC or SEAC, as the case may be. The procedure related to appraisal has been mentioned in Appendix V of the notification.
In order to apply for appraisal, the applicant needs to apply to the EAC or SEAC, as the case may be, through a simple communication and needs to enclose the following document:
- Final EIA Report [20 hard copies & 1 soft copy]
- Copy of the video tape or CD of the public hearing proceeding
- Final layout proceeding [20 copies]
- Project feasibility report [1 copy]
The scrutiny of the documents will be done within 30 days from the receipt of the application. The appraisal shall be made by EAC or SEAC in a meeting whose date will be informed to the applicant 15 days prior to the meeting. The applicant can be present personally or by way of an authorized representative to furnish necessary clarifications. The EAC or SEAC will give categorical recommendation in which it will have to mention the reason for either granting or rejecting and will also have to mention terms and conditions, if any. The process of appraisal needs to be completed within sixty days of the receipt of the final EIA report.
Grant or Rejection [Para 8 of the notification]
Once, pre-clearance is over, the EAC or SEAC, as the case may be, will send its recommendation to the concerned regulatory authority who in turn will convey its decision to the applicant within forty five days of the receipt of the recommendations and will grant the pre-clearance if the regulatory authority agrees and accepts the recommendations of the EAC or SEAC.
If it disagrees with the recommendation it will request the EAC or SEAC, whoever concerned, to reconsider the recommendation by stating the reason for the disagreement within 45 days of receiving the recommendation. The information about the same will be conveyed to the applicant. After this, EAC or SEAC, as the case may be, will furnish its view within 60 days. Then the new view and recommendation will be sent to regulatory authority. After receiving it, the regulatory body will decide whether the clearance has to be given or not. The decision of the regulatory body will be final and it will be communicated to the applicant within next 30 days.
In case, the decision is not communicated within the prescribed period, the applicant can proceed as if the clearance sought has been granted or denied in terms of the final recommendations of the EAC or SEAC.
If there is a deliberate concealment or submission of false or misleading information or data by the applicant which is material information, the application will be liable to rejection.
If the fact about deliberate concealment or submission of false or misleading information or data by the applicant material to screening, or scoping, or appraisal, is discovered after the grant of the clearance, the clearance will be liable for rejection decided by the regulatory body after giving the applicant a personal hearing.
Validity [Para 9 of the notification]
After the period of validity is over, the grant of pre-clearance will expire and the industry will have to take the clearance again by following the above mentioned procedure. The following table gives the period for which the pre clearance will be valid with respect to the projects:
River Valley Project
Area Development Projects
The above mentioned period for the specific project or activity can be increased by the concerned regulatory authority for a maximum period of 5 years provided that the applicant applies for the same by applying within the validity period by way of an application with which he will need to annex the updated Form 1 and Supplementary Form 1A.
Other Environmental Regulations
Rule 3 of the Environment Protection Rules, 1986 prescribes certain limits on the emission of certain particulate for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing and abating environmental pollution. The standard for the discharge has been mentioned in a tabular form in the Schedule of the EP Rules. Section 8 of the EP Act directs that the person handling any hazardous substance will have to act in accordance with the procedure prescribed under the Rule 13 of the EP Rules.
The penalty under the EP Act for contravention of any of the provision of the Act or in the Rules or in the direction issued by the government has been divided into three categories:
- Punished with an imprisonment for a term which can extend to 5 years with a fine which may extend to 1 lakh rupees or both.
- If the contravention continues or extends, an additional fine will be levied on the person which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day.
- If the contravention continues for a year and in that case the offender shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years. [Section 15]
- Every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was directly in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be punished accordingly.
- If the offence that has been committed by the company and with the consent of any director or manager or other officer, then they shall also be deemed guilty and there will be a proceeding against them and they will be punished accordingly. [Section 16]
- Government Department
- The head of the department will be deemed to be guilty and shall be punished accordingly. [Section 17]
- The Environment Protection Act, 1986 available at http://envfor.nic.in/legis/env/env1.html last visited on June 30, 2016
- Notification dated September 14, 2016 available at http://envfor.nic.in/legis/eia/so1533.pdf last visited on June 30, 2016
- The Environment Protection Rules, 1986 available at http://www.moef.nic.in/sites/default/files/fellowships/THE%20ENVIRONMENT.pdf last visited on June 30, 2016
- Environmental Regulation available at http://www.archive.india.gov.in/business/starting_business/environment_laws.php last visited on June 30, 2016
- National Environment Policy, 2006 available at http://www.moef.gov.in/sites/default/files/introduction-nep2006e.pdf last visited on June 30, 2016.
- Pollution Standards available at http://dpcc.delhigovt.nic.in/down/standards.pdf last visited on June 30, 2016.
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