Environment ministry streamlines clearance process for hydro projects

The environment ministry has streamlined the clearance process for hydro power projects to avoid duplication and reduce the time required. Hydro power projects require environment and forest clearances, which are recommended by two separate committees. The expert appraisal committee, which looks into environmental parameters, is set up under the Environment Protection Act. The forest advisory committee, which considers the diversion of forest land, is set up under the Forest Conservation Act. There are overlapping issues such as impact on biodiversity, which need to considered by both environment and forest committees while assessing the project for clearance. The ministry has decided that “once an issue has been examined and looked into by one committee, the details and findings could be shared with the other committee to avoid duplication of efforts”, an environment ministry order said. The expert appraisal committee has been designated as the principal on the question of environmental flow of a river. The results of the environmental committee’s deliberations and study on the issue will be shared with their counterparts dealing with forest clearance.

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