The EIA Procedure
The EIA process in India consists the following phases
- Project Proposal
Any proponent embarking on any major development project shall
notify IAA in writing by the submission of a project proposal.
The project proposal shall include all relevant information
available including a land-use map in order for it to move to
the next stage which is screening. The submission of a project
proposal signifies the commencement of the EIA process.
Screening is done to see whether a project requires
environmental clearance as per the statutory notifications. At
this stage, the project proponent decides the type of project
and also about requirement of Environmental Clearance. If
required, the proponent may consult IAA.
- Scoping and consideration of
Scoping is a process of detailing the terms of reference of EIA.
It has to be done by the consultant in consultation with the
project proponent and guidance, if need be, from Impact
Assessment Agency. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has
published guidelines for different sectors (see next sub
section), which outlines the significant issues to be addressed
in the EIA studies. Quantifiable impacts are to be assessed on
the basis of magnitude, prevalence, frequency and duration and
non-quantifiable impacts (such as aesthetic or recreational
value), significance is commonly determined through the
socio-economic criteria. After the areas, where the project
could have significant impact, are identified, the baseline
status of these should be monitored and then the likely changes
in these on account of the construction and operation of the
proposed project should be predicted
- Base line data collection
Base line data describes the existing environmental status of
the identified study area. The site-specific primary data should
be monitored for the identified parameters and supplemented by
secondary data if available.
- Impact prediction and Assessment of
Impact prediction is a way of mapping the environmental
consequences of the significant aspects of the project and its
alternatives. For every project, possible alternatives should be
identified and environmental attributes compared. Alternatives
should cover both project location and process technologies.
Alternatives should then be ranked for selection of the best
environmental optimum economic benefits to the community at
large. Once alternatives have been reviewed, a mitigation plan
should be drawn up for the selected option and is supplemented
with an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to guide the
proponent towards environmental improvements. The EMP is a
crucial input to monitoring the clearance conditions and
therefore details of monitoring should be included in the EMP.
- EIA Report
An EIA report should provide clear information to the
decision-maker on the different environmental scenarios without
the project, with the project and with project alternatives. The
proponent prepares detailed Project report and provides
information in logical and transparent manner. The IAA examines
if procedures have been followed as per MoEF notifications.
- Public hearing
After the completion of EIA report the law requires that the
public must be informed and consulted on a proposed development
after the completion of EIA report. The State Pollution Control
Boards will conduct the public hearing before the proposals are
sent to MoEF for obtaining environmental clearance. Any one
likely to be affected by the proposed project is entitled to
have access to the Executive Summary of the EIA. The affected
persons may include: a) Bonafide local residents; b) Local
associations; c) Environmental groups: active in the area; d)
Any other person located at the project site / sites of
displacement. They are to be given an opportunity to make
oral/written suggestions to the State Pollution Control Board as
per Schedule IV.
Decision making process involve consultation between the project
proponent (assisted by a consultant) and the impact assessment
authority (assisted by an expert group if necessary). The
decision on environmental clearance is arrived at through a
number of steps including evaluation of EIA and EMP.
- Monitoring the clearance
Monitoring has to be done during both construction and operation
phases of a project. It is done not just to ensure that the
commitments made are complied with but also to observe whether
the predictions made in the EIA reports are correct or not.
Where the impacts exceed the predicted levels, corrective action
should be taken. Monitoring also enables the regulatory agency
to review the validity of predictions and the conditions of
implementation of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP). The
Project Proponent, IAA and Pollution Control Boards should
monitor the implementation of conditions. The proponent is
required to file once in six months a report demonstrating the
compliance to IAA.