Paperwork the Delhi government recently made it mandatory for all big constructions to get an environmental clearance. This was announced by the government's environment department through a public notice published in various newspapers. The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (hspcb) had taken a similar step about a month ago.

"The notices are issued in accordance with a July 2004 notification of the ministry of environment and forests (moef),' says a department official. The notification made an Environment Impact Assessment (eia) mandatory for all new townships, industrial townships, settlement colonies, commercial complexes, hotel complexes, hospitals and office complexes. The Delhi government's order has made it mandatory for all constructions for more than 1,000 persons or discharging sewage of more than 50,000 litres/day or constructed with an investment of more than Rs 50 crore to get the m o ef 's environmental clearance . Proponents of these projects, whether a government or a private agency, will have to apply to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (dpcc) with project details and prescribed forms for clearance. But the decision on the eia will be taken only by the moef. " dpcc will only give consent with regard to the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Rules, 1975, and Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) (union territory) Rules, 1983,' explains B Kumar, senior environment engineer, dpcc .

Earlier, the hspcb had issued show cause notices to about 10 construction companies, including Omex Construction Limited and Parsvnath, following the same moef notification. But no follow up action was taken due to upheavals after the change of government in Haryana. "The whole hspcb staff at Gurgaon , except a scientist, has been transferred. Who will follow up the case?' asks Virendra Singh, hspcb' s regional officer at Gurgaon. Things in Delhi are also not looking up. Though the environment department has asked the Delhi Development Authority and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to get an environmental clearance for all their construction projects, so far no government body has sought an eia.

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