Handbook on EIA Notification, 2006: An effort in making EIA accessible to all

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Review of new book titled ‘Environment Impact Assessment – Law, Practice & Procedure in India 2016’, edited by Dr R.K Singh and Ritwick Dutta, LIFE, New Delhi, Oct 2016, p 374 + xvi

About the Book This book is a comprehensive compilation of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification (EIA), 2006, along with the amendments. It also has all Office Memorandums and Circulars issued by MoEF&CC for implementation of the EIA Notification, 2006 up to March, 2016. Environment Resource Center (ERC) plans to publish the book annually with incorporation of new updates, amendments, Circulars and OMs. It provides subject wise classification various Office Memorandums (OMs) and Circulars. The book also contains the text of all the official orders and amendments, classified according to subjects like: Prior/ Scoping clearances, public hearings, appraisal, violations, etc.

This is a much needed document and ERC team has done a commendable job by compiling all the relevant amendments and notifications in a single book in useful format and organized way.  The document will be of great value for all including Legal Experts, Academicians, Researchers, EIA professionals, Government Officers, Journalists, concerned NGOs, Civil Society activists, local community as well.

Significance

The Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 is among the most important environmental regulations in the country. Unlike other area and subject specific environmental laws, the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) can be applied nationwide for various categories and activities irrespective of whether the proposed project is in urban, rural, forest, wildlife, mountains, coastal areas, plains or deserts.

The current EIA Notification, 2006, came into force on September 14, 2006 and replaced the EIA Notification of 1994. The EIA Notification has undergone numerous amendments, the most significant on being in the year 2008. In addition, numerous OMs, circulars and clarifications have been issued from time to time by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC).

Problem

MoEF&CC website, the official source of the EIA Circulars and OMs, has not been arranging the data in a systematic manner. Moreover, the amendments are not attached to main notification. Consequently, users find it very difficult and tedious to understand and be updated on the application of the EIA Notification, 2006 as they have to read first the originally notified EIA and then all the succeeding amendments, Circulars and OM’s in sequence. Ideally, whenever MoEF&CC makes any amendment in the EIA notification, they must also prepare an updated EIA notification and upload the updated EIA notification so that  one gets the  latest version without having to go through the original notifications and all the amendments each time  one wants to know the applicability of the EIA notification to any current project or situation.

It was realized by the authors of this report that absence of a comprehensive document on EIA Notification, 2006 was one of the reasons for non compliance and poor enforcement of Notification.

Besides cases pertaining to breach of Forest, Water, Air and Biodiversity Act, violation of the EIA Notification, 2006 is under the jurisdiction of the NGT. Therefore, it is important that the EIA Notification, 2006 is made easily accessible to all.

How to get the Book

It has been published by Legal Initiative for Forest & Environment (LIFE). The cost of the book is Rs 350. Readers interested in buying the book may contact Mr Soban Rawat, Administration Officer, LIFE, New Delhi at sobanrawat@lifeindia.net.in .

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Suggestion: In future editions, if a list of important orders of NGT and other courts about the EIA notification are included, that would add value to the publication. 

Bhim Singh Rawat (we4earth@gmail.com ), SANDRP

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