M A I N   N E W S

Jairam ministry gives go-ahead to new projects in Ludhiana
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 16
The Environment Ministry has lifted its January-2010 moratorium on environmental clearance for new projects and expansion in eight critically polluted areas, including Ludhiana in Punjab.

Based on recommendations received from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the moratorium has been lifted in Ludhiana (Punjab), Varanasi-Mirzapur (UP), Agra (UP), Bhavnagar (Gujarat), Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu), Dombivalli (Maharashtra), Aurangabad (Maharashtra) and Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra). Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari, welcoming the decision, said: “A large number of projects were languishing because of lack of clearance at various stages. I hope this would expedite the process.”

The CPCB, in 2009, had carried out a comprehensive environmental assessment based on the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) of 88 important industrial clusters in the country. The assessment was developed by a number of prominent academic institutions, led by IIT, Delhi, that were associated with field-level assessments.

Of the 88 industrial clusters, 43 were identified as “critically polluted,” where the CEPI score was 70 or more. On January 13, 2010, the ministry imposed a moratorium on environmental clearance for new projects and expansions in 43 critically polluted industrial clusters. This was done to enable the state governments and industry to take to ensure environmentally friendly remedial measures to counter pollution. This moratorium is on until action plans prepared by the state governments to deal with the problems of pollution are approved by the CPCB.

According to officials, action plans for the above mentioned areas were reviewed by the CPCB and certified in writing that process had indeed begun and implementation was being monitored systematically.

On October 26, the ministry had lifted the moratorium in five critically polluted areas, including Patancheru-Bollarum (Andhra Pradesh), Tarapur (Maharashtra), Mandi-Gobindgarh (Punjab), Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) and Vapi (Gujarat), based on CPCB’s recommendations.

Meanwhile, the process of verification of implementation of action plans in another 25 critically polluted areas is under way and it is expected to be completed in the next four weeks after which a decision will be taken on the lifting of the moratorium in these areas.





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