Whether a project developer builds a factory or a part of it illegally, the environment ministry will treat the entire construction illegal and won’t classify the violations as major and minor, unlike a proposal that was mooted earlier.
A move had been made to dilute the norms of the ministry of environments and forests (MoEF) and overlook small and minor infringements of green laws while granting clearance to a project. However, the MoEF has decided not to dilute its stand considering it would lose mandate to hold projects like Lavasa and Vedanta accountable for violation of regulations.
Sources in the ministry told TOI that a committee had been set up earlier to review if violations committed by projects of the conditions set in the environmental clearances could be classified under various categories. The committee, headed by B Sengupta, an ex-member secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board, had classified the violations into two categories that were suggested in the terms of reference as ‘serious’ and ‘not so serious’.
But a proposal was then mooted to look at violations committed by project proponents even before clearances are granted through the same prism of ‘serious’ and ‘less serious’ classifications.
Sources in the ministry said the move to ease norms for project proponents, who start work before securing mandatory green clearances, had been rejected.
Since the SC passed orders in Meghalaya Lafarge on not accepting fait accompli situations, where developers first construct projects and then come to the MoEF seeking clearance post-facto on the basis of investments made, the ministry has been wary of making moves that would condone illegalities.