Delhi green panel to make checklist for nod to projects
A second SEAC member said they were looking at practical problems of other construction projects around the city
The State Level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC), which advises the government on green clearance of development projects, plans to create an additional checklist of “environmental indicators” mandatorily required for approval of such projects, according to officials aware of the matter.
These indicators, currently part of a draft checklist, may seek detailed information on mitigation measures in place for air pollution, steps being taken by the proponent to check the heat island effect and chloride content in the cement and groundwater table, the officials said.
Each SEAC member will contribute to the checklist, adding practical and on-ground environmental problems gathered from projects over the past year, with these additional indicators likely to make the process of receiving an environmental clearance (EC) more stringent, they added.
“We have already created a draft checklist for such environmental indicators that each project proponent will have to declare and share information about in order to receive an environmental clearance. This includes factors such as the heat island effect and how it will be mitigated, or mitigation measures in relation to air pollution and the surrounding vehicular traffic. While the existing parameters look at traffic density, it does not look at what the proponent is doing to manage this pollution or mitigate it,” said Delhi SEAC chairman Vijay Garg.
The plan was discussed during two recent meetings in May and April held between SEAC and Delhi’s other expert body, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).
To be sure, both SEAC and SEIAA grant review construction permissions for the city, with an EC being granted only when both the bodies approve a project. The parameters they look at include water requirement of the project, solid waste management plans, power requirement, parking details, eco-sensitive areas nearby, number of trees required to be felled and the project cost, among others.
“The aforesaid checklist needs to be updated... and the checklist framed by SEAC will be followed for appraisal of projects, in addition to the provisions of the EIA notification,” read the minutes of the May 20 meeting.
Garg said they have already shared the draft checklist with project proponents, with clearances to no longer be granted if the indicators are not addressed.
“The final checklist will soon be ready and will become a mandatory requirement,” he added.
A second SEAC member said they were looking at practical problems of other construction projects around the city, with a problem of high chloride in concrete also being looked at. “In a lot of projects, if there is high chloride in the water used for curing the concrete, then there can be stability issues, as recently seen in the Signature view apartments project in Mukherjee Nagar,” the official said on condition of anonymity. More details a project proponent submits, the greater the chances are of receiving a clearance early, the official added.
Bhavreen Kandhari, an environment activist based in Delhi, said, “We will have to see whether this makes the overall process of awarding a clearance stringent in reality or not. In the past, we have seen a large number of trees being cut for projects and after saving a few of them, or reducing the overall number slightly, the project proponent gets a clearance,” she said.