Final Review SECC Naik, Rao, Saldanha, et al EMPRI GOK April 2014 Report

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Final Review SECC Naik, Rao, Saldanha, et al EMPRI GOK April 2014 Report
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  Conducting a study with regard to significant impact of the activities that are not covered under the EIA Notification, 2006 March 2014 Funded by Department of Ecology and Environment Government of Karnataka Prepared by Environment Management and Policy Research Institute Bangalore     F O R E W O R D With high development imperatives on one side and the importance of Environmental Conservation on the other, the Environmental clearances have become one of the most controversial subjects. This report “ A study with regard to significant impact of the activities that are not covered under EIA Notification 2006” is an excellent attempt at examining the situation and giving remedies in order to strengthen Environmental Governance in Karnataka. The report has traced the srcin of SECC and has gone ahead to show that the clearances required more transparency, accountability, public participation and decentralization than were actually carried out by SECC. In fact though the mandate of SECC was to give clearance to those projects which were not covered by 2006 notification, it has in some cases given clearance to the project which should have been cleared under SEIAA and SEAC. In some cases they have taken clearance from SECC and then again from SEIAA & SEAC. The report has done a study of the 447 projects that were given clearance under SECC from 2001 to 2012. About 10% of the projects were chosen and detailed study including visit to the field was done. In the mean while the state Government took action to discontinue the State Environment Clearance Committee through a G.O. No. FEE 19 ENV (Part) Bangalore 2013 dated 07/02/2014. This has created a void in the environmental clearance and regulatory regime; though it can be argued that multiplicity of institutions can cause confusion with regard to jurisdiction and competencies of institutions giving environmental clearances. The report has also identified activities which have a significant impact on the environment but are not covered by Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006. Some of these projects were hitherto cleared by SECC. A way forward could be to include these activities which have been identified in this report in the list of activities under 2006 notification of Government of India. This together with the Supreme Courts direction to establish an independent environment regulator at the centre with Offices in the state would bring about a better environmental clearance system. Bangalore (Ritu Kakkar) 19.03.2014 Director General E M P R I      ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The Environmental Management & Policy Research Institute, Bangalore is thankful to the Department of Ecology & Environment Department for entrusting the task of conducting Study with regard to the significant impact of the activities that are not covered under EIA Notification 2006 and for providing the financial support and encouragement for this study. We thank Sh Sridharan, IAS, former Principal Secretary, Forest, Ecology & Environment Department, & former Chairman, Governing Board, EMPRI, for taking special interest in preparing the terms of reference for this study and his support and guidance. We thank the authors and members of the team which carried out the study and prepared this report namely Sh Abhay Raj, Ms Bhargavi, Sh, Leo F Saldanha, Ms Jayalakshmi, Ms Neha Pai, Dr Papiya Roy, Ms Nisha Shetty and Ms Reethu Singh for their hard work, enthusiasm, commitment in bringing out this excellent report. We thank Dr SJ Vikas, Project Development Officer, EMPRI for the hard work and perseverance in obtaining the necessary files and documents from various government departments. We also thank Sh Girish, Ms Pragathi Badrinath, Ms Shashikala and Sh Davis for their support rendered in carrying out the field work and getting information and data from various sources. We thank Dr MK Ramesh, Professor, National Law School University of India, Bangalore, for taking up a detailed review of the entire report and offering his valuable suggestions. We thank all the 39 project proponents, whose facilities were visited by our team during the course of this study, for providing us with information during the visits and with feedback on their case studies. We are also thankful to the officials of Karnataka Forest Department and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board in the districts of Hassan, Mangalore, Belgaum, Bellary, Chitradurga and Mandya, for their help and support during the field visits of the study teams. We are also thankful to Dr. MH Balakrishnaiah, Special Director (Technical), Department of Ecology & Environment Bangalore, Sh M Natesh, Environmental Officer, Karnataka Pollution Control Board, for providing their valuable suggestions during the workshops.
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