Will ensure accredited agencies conduct green assessment: Centre

Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar said the government was in the process of ensuring a system where only accredited agencies would be allowed to conduct environment impact assessment (EIA) studies.

Replying to a query on the EIA for the country's Neutrino Observatory (INO) Project, an underground research programme to be initiated in Tamil Nadu's Theni district, he said the file had not reached him.

After conducting a meeting with Tamil Nadu forest officers for creation of new green spaces in the city, he said, "We will take cognisance of environment impact assessment done by recognised institutes. Institutes accredited with the Quality Control of India would be allowed to do EIA. Sooner than later, we would have a system where only accredited agencies would be allowed."

When asked on the allegations by activists opposing the INO project on grounds the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, which had carried out the environment impact assessment study of the project, is not accredited with the Quality Control of India. The union minister said, "The file has not come to me. I will have to check the facts".

It may be noted the Centre had approved the project in January 2015. The Rs 1,583-crore project involves construction of an underground lab and the associated surface facilities at Pottipuram in the Bodi West hills of Theni; construction of a 50 kilo ton magnetised iron calorimeter detector to study the fundamental particle neutrino among others.

Environmental activists and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which had contested the last Lok Sabha election in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party, have been conducting protests and had approached the Court against the project alleging it would have a cascading affect on the environment in the region.

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