Processing, production and manufacturing sectors not to require Environmental Clearance if proposed change including expansion does not involve any increase in pollution
By Dr. Yashpal Singh
The EIA Notification of 2006 has been amended by S.O. 980(E) dated 2-03-21 and it has been provided that any increase in production capacity in respect of processing or production or manufacturing sectors (listed against item numbers 2,3, 4 and 5 in the Schedule to the notification of 2006) with or without any change in (i) raw material-mix or (ii) product-mix or (ii) quantities within products or (ii) number of products including new products falling in the same category or (iv) configuration of the plant or process or operations in existing area or in areas contiguous to the existing area (for which prior environmental clearance has been granted) shall be exempt from the requirement of Prior Environmental Clearance provided that there is no increase in pollution load (derived on the basis of such Prior Environmental Clearance).
This concession is not only applicable for Ethanol Based Distilleries but also to other sectors of Industries specifically Coal Washeries, Mineral beneficiation, Metallurgical Industries (Ferrous and Non Ferrous), Cement Plants, Petroleum Refining Industry, Coke over plants, Asbestos milling and asbestos based products, Chlor-alkali Industry, Soda Ash Industry, Leather skin and Hide processing industry, Chemical Fertilisers, Pesticides, Petro Chemical Complexes, Manmadefibre, Petrochemical based processing, Synthetic organic Chemicals Industries, Distilleries, Integrated paint Industry, Pulp and Paper, Sugar, Induction Arc Furnace/Cupola Furnaces.
It has been specified that the said exemption shall be applicable only after furnishing a no increase in pollution load certificate, from the environmental auditor or reputed institutions empaneled by the State Pollution Control Board or Union Territory Pollution Control Committee or Central Pollution Control Board or Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and on submitting it on PARIVESH portal as well as to the concerned State Pollution Control Board or Union Territory Pollution Control Committee. If on verification, the State Pollution Control Board or Union Territory Pollution Control Committee, after giving the project proponent the opportunity of being heard, holds that such change or expansion or modernization results in increase in pollution load, the exemption claimed under this clause shall not be valid.
The said exemption shall also only apply if the Online Continuous Monitoring System (OCMS) is installed and implemented with at least 95% uptime and connected to the servers of the Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Board or Union Territory Pollution Control Committee concerned.
This exemption will not be applicable if the proposed change or change or increase results in change in category of project or activity from Category “B2″ to either Category“A” or Category “B1″. This is very important.
Apart from this the amendment also provides that any change in configuration of the plant or activity, from those specified in the environmental clearance conditions arising after detailed engineering during the execution of the project, shall not require prior environmental clearance, if there is no change in production capacity and there is no increase in pollution load. Such changes shall be intimated to the Ministry before implementation when a system generated acknowledgement will be issued by the concerned Regulatory Authority.
“Pollution load” has to be determined on the basis of multiplication of quantity and concentration of different components and parameters in respect of emissions, effluents or discharge, solid, industrial hazardous waste and such other parameters notified under the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 as amended from time to time.