Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has made it clear that delay in green clearances will not be tolerated. While environmentalists agree that the system of green clearances needs to be changed, the solution, they say, is not just to speed up clearances but to also change the system.

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Wednesday urged the new Government to put in place an independent green regulator, as ordered earlier by the Supreme Court as well. It also highlighted the need for consolidating all clearances — environment, forests, coastal and wildlife — to ensure that clearances are given after analysing the overall impact of projects.

“On the eve of World Environment Day, we are presenting our agenda for urgent action that we hope the new Government will take on. We need to move beyond the rhetoric of environmental protection to implementing a tough action plan for change, and this is what we want the Government to do,” said Sunita Narain, Director General of CSE, an advocacy body.

Forest rights

She said the Government should utilise the resources of State Pollution Control Boards to monitor and ensure compliance with clearance conditions instead of focusing just on clearing projects. CSE also recommended that a task force be set up to look at enforcement of rules, and strict penalties in cases of non-compliance. On the contentious Forest Rights Act, which has also been a focal point in several cases such as the clearance for Mahan Coal Ltd, CSE said: “Seven years on, the Act is yet to live up to expectations. The new Government must implement FRA in letter and spirit and include it in its key development agenda.”

The think-tank said the new Government should frame policies increasing the share of renewable energy to 25 per cent from the current 3 per cent by the end of the 12th Plan.