Almost a year after going online for assessing environmental clearance (EC) applications of bigger projects (Category 'A') which come to Union environment ministry for green nod, the Center on Thursday launched a similar web portal for smaller projects (Category 'B') that need to get approval from state assessment authorities.

As many as 19 states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Manipur and Punjab instantly joined the online clearance system on Thursday.Remainging states will join the online system in due course.

All projects and activities are broadly categorized in to two categories - Category 'A' and Category 'B', based on the spatial extent of potential impacts and potential impacts on human health and natural and man made resources.

Mining projects that fall in the areas of 50 hectares or more of land come under Category 'A' whereas the projects in smaller areas come under Category 'B'. The other projects that come under Category 'A' include off-shore oil and gas exploration, refinieries, hydro-power plants of 50 MW or more, thermal power plants of 500 MW or more, nuclear power plants, airports and cement plants of 1 million tones or more of production capacity.

On the other hand, projects having smaller production capacity or of non-sensitive nature like aerial ropeway or central effluent treatment plants (CETPs) come under Category 'B' where state authorities have power to process the application and issue green clearances.

Launching the portal for states, Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar said the new portal was "landmark" as it had raised the levels of transparency and accountability.

"The online submission of applications will ensure that monitoring is carried out more effectively and on a real time basis. Status on the pendency is now available clearly under the web-based system. It will also speed up clearance processes, while maintaining the rigours of 'Environment Clearance' process", said Javadekar.

After launching web portal for these clearances, the ministry is now in the process of bringing the 'Hazardous Substances Management Rules' online.


Source: 2 July, 2015, the Times of India