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Ensure environment clearance for mill projects, says ministry


Times of India, Mumbai, 13th August, 2005


In a small victory for city greens, the ministry of environment and forest (Moef) has written two letters to the state government asking it to ensure that mill redevelopment projects obtain environmental clearance from the Centre. The clearance process includes an environment impact assessment study and a public hearing. The rule, which was notified last year, stipulates that construction projects, which require an investment of over Rs 50 crore, orcater to 1,000 people or will entail the discharge of 50,000 litres of sewage, must get environment clearance from the Center. Most of the large-scale residential, office and mall projects in Mumbai are affected by this rule since they often run into over Rs 50 crore.


In a latter to the state chief secretary R M Prem Kumar in June, Moef special secretary Meena Gupa expressed concern that the development of such prime urban lands will have serious implications on the provision of community facilities, open spaces, transport network and infrastructure services. Noting that 15 mills are proposing to take up large constriction projects, Gupta reminded the chief secretary that the environment clearance notification also covers projects where construction work had not reached plinth level at the date of the notification date July 2004. Another letter to the state environment secretary notes that large construction projects require a public hearing to be conducted by the state pollution control board.