Residential projects up to 1.5 lakh sqm will not need prior ‘environmental clearance’
The government has eased green norms for the building and construction sector where residential projects up to 1.5 lakh sqm built-up area will not require prior “environmental clearance.” The environment and forests ministry issued the notification on Thursday, which the government claimed will quicken building construction permission in urban areas.
However, the environment ministry notification specifies that the prior green approval exemption will not be applicable for projects, including industrial sheds, educational institutions, hospitals and hostels. Urban local bodies such as municipalities will have the power to grant building permission, which may attract criticism from green activists in the country. However, such projects will have to fulfil “environmental conditions” through self declaration and certification while seeking building or construction permission from the local authorities. The built-up area has been defined as all covered areas, including basement and other service areas.
The “environmental conditions” will be integrated in building bye-laws of all the states and UTs. As part of fulfilling those conditions, the projects will have to use water efficient appliances, rainwater harvesting, waste management system, energy efficient systems, renewable power, maintain air quality and noise standards and other conditions. The municipal bodies will issue the completion certificate only after being satisfied that the laid down norms have been complied with by the builders or plot owners.
The ministry in a draft notification in March had proposed to increase the built up area to come under the prior green clearance regime from 20,000 m to 50,000 sq m. Now it has increased the covered area to 1.5 lakh sq meters. In the case of getting approval for township projects that have more that 1.5 lakh sq meters built-up area and up to 50 hectares, environment assessment report will be required.
The changes, say sources, have been made to streamline permissions for construction sector to meet the target of building more affordable houses for weaker sections. “It will help us improve our ranking in ease of getting construction permits,” housing and urban affairs secretary D S Mishra said.