MoEF to notify environment clearance policy for builders

The ministry of environment and forests told the Supreme Court on Friday that it has drafted a notification which would clear the present uncertainty about the necessity of getting environment clearance for builders all over the country. It said the notification will take care of all the concerns about the environment clearances.

The United Progressive Alliance government in 2013 had allowed builders to proceed with construction before getting environment clearance which could be obtained later. But, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), last year, quashed that order. The bench of the former chief justice H L Dattu later stayed the NGT order, allowing the builders to proceed without previous environment sanction.

The Bench of the present Chief Justice T S Thakur has expressed reservations against the earlier order and is examining the legalities. The government's announcement came while hearing the appeals of seven leading real estate firms, mostly from Tamil Nadu, who have challenged the NGT order against construction without previous environment clearance.

The court declined to exempt the builders from paying the penalty, to the extent of five per cent of the project cost, under the orders of the NGT. The court also wanted from the ministry a detailed chart of those who committed violations, the type of violations and the extent. It shall be done before the next hearing in March. Additional Solicitor General Neeraj Kaushal clarified that the central government is not challenging the NGT order.

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