Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is one of the tools used to achieve sustainable development. At present EIA is mandatory for 29 specific activities. EIA is also required for some of the activities to be taken up in identified areas like Coastal Zone, Murad-Janjira, Doonvalley, Dahanu, Aravalli and Numaligarh. Over the years the Ministry has evolved a procedure for examining the impact of different activities such as Industry and Mining, Irrigation and Power, Ports and Harbours, Airports, Roads, Hotels, Beach resorts and Tourism projects. These include providing requisite information as per questionnaire, preparation of EIA report, holding of public hearing wherever necessary and examination by a duly constituted Expert Committee (EC).



Status of Appraisal of Projects

During the year, the ECs were reconstituted. Following are the details of the committee and the number of meetings held by them.

S.      Name of the Committee                   No. of
No.                                             meetings
1.      Industry                                   5
2.      Mining                                     4
3.      Thermal Power                              6
4.      River Valley and Hydroelectric             4

Besides the above, an EC has been constituted to examine the mining projects falling under the purview of Aravalli notification. This committee has met twice during the year and considered 63 projects. Details of number of projects received, cleared etc., are given in Table-7.

Status of Development projects from January to December 1998
S.No.   Nature of the   Projects     Projetcs      Projects   Projects    Projects 
        Project         pending      received      cleared    rejected/   pending
                        at the       during                   exempted    at the end
                        beginning    the year                             of the year
                        of the year
1.      Industrial          23          58            34         22          25
2.      Thermal Power       20          22            17         14          11   
3.      River valley and    13          13             9         10           7
4.      Mining              24          15             9         12          18
5.      Infrastructure      16          46            11         30*         21
        and Miscellaneous
        Total               96         154            80         88          82

*Four projects were transferred to Ministry of Surface Transport as per the amended provisions of CRZ notification.



Frozen River at Ladakh


Since the initiation of EIA procedure, a number of steps have been taken to monitor the implementation of conditions stipulated while according environmental clearance. Six Regional Offices of the Ministry at Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Shillong scrutinise the monitoring reports received from the project authorities, review the implementation of the conditions and if necessary make a site visit to ensure that conditions are being implemented and if not bring it to the attention of the project authorities. To streamline the monitoring process a one day workshop was organized in September 1998, in which representatives of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs)/Committees, Officials of the Ministry and Regional Offices participated.



Dumped Excavated rocks from Tail Race Tunnel of URI Hydro-electric Project in Kashmir


An opencast mine with inpit dumping

Constitution of Authorities

Coastal Zone Authority

During the year, Coastal Zone Authorities have been set up both at National and State/Union Territory levels. The objective of these authorities is to take measures for protecting and improving the quality of coastal environment and preventing, abating and controlling environmental pollution in coastal areas.


Aquaculture Authority

The authority which has been constituted under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 is being administered by Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives. Since its constitution, the authority has met nine times and has formulated guidelines for aquaculture farms, procedure for considering the application for setting up of aquaculture farms, training etc.


Dahanu Taluka Environment Protection Authority

During the year, this authority continued its work. The major activity undertaken by the authority includes matters regarding setting up of a port at Vahavan, Maharashtra. It also monitored the activities of the thermal power plant at Dahanu and implementation of Dahanu Regional Plan.



Restoration of Dumped area by plantation on rocks using biofertilizer (a closer view)

Central Ground Water Authority

This authority was also constituted under the provisions of Environment Protection Act, 1986. The authority, which was under Ministry of Water Resources, has now initiated action regarding registration for ground water abstraction. It has identified areas vulnerable to ground water pollution/depletion. It has also initiated mass awareness programmes.


Notification on Pachmarhi

A draft notification was issued in September 1998 notifying Pachmarhi region in Madhya Pradesh as an Eco sensitive zone. The notification has been issued with the intention of regulating industrial mining and tourism activities in the area and conserve the natural and man-made heritage. The notification applies to Pachmarhi Town and its immediate environs. The notification also provides for the preparation of a Zonal Development Plan and constitution of a High Level Monitoring Committee.


ADB Project

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has taken up a project on Strengthening Environment Impact Assessment and Environmental Legislation with the assistance of Asian Development Bank. The project involves preparation of EIA manual for appraisal and training of technical personnel in the use of the manual. Besides the project will provide input to strengthening of Environmental Legislation and Institutions based on international experience by preparing a report detailing the environmental legislation and institutional structure of two industrialised countries. The project is expected to be completed by April 1999.


Studies Sponsored

The first phase of the following studies have been completed :

    1. Sustainable development plan for Environment Protection of Kutch district in Gujarat State.

    2. Evaluation and Characterisation of natural and alternate sand resources in selected zone in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

    3. Carrying Capacity based Developmental Planning for Tinnakara Island, Lakshadweep.

The progress of these studies is being monitored regularly.


Constitution of specified committees

The Ministry has constituted a committee to identify abandoned mines in two specific areas so as to prepare an action plan for restoration of these areas, review the mining strategy and technology adopted and prepare short/long term plans.

A committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Director General of Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to formulate guidelines for management of wastes emanating during offshore drilling.

In order that the environmental concerns are integrated in the initial stage itself, the Ministry is associating itself in the selection of sites for Mega power projects.


Carrying Capacity based Regional Planning Studies

All development projects utilise natural resources in one form or the other and also generate wastes. It is necessary to develop alternate strategies for sustainable development in the context of a developing country like India. Carrying Capacity based regional planning takes into account the environmental quality of the eco-system also so that the welfare of human beings is not impaired. To demonstrate the viability of the carrying capacity based planning process, studies have been taken up in selected areas considered to be representative of similar problematic areas in the country. The regions selected for such studies are :


Carrying Capacity based Planning Approach

During the period under reporting, the final reports for two carrying capacity studies, which were earlier completed, namely, Doon Vallley and National Capital Region have been prepared. Copies of these reports have been sent to the concerned agencies for interaction and necessary follow up.

Review Meetings were held to discuss the progress in the Carrying Capacity Studies for Damodar River Basin. Tapi Estuary and Greater Kochi Region. The draft reports on Damodar River Basin and Tapi Estuary have been received and reviewed. Suggestions based on these discussions are being incorporated in the final report.

Three meetings were held to discuss the progress on the carrying capacity study for Greater Kochi Region. Collection of secondary data for this study is complete and based on the primary data which is under compilation. various development scenarios are being worked out for the future development of the region.