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NDA not different from UPA in green clearances: CSE

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Despite widespread perception, the NDA government's record of giving green clearances has "not" been different from the previous UPA regime and it has brought "selective" changes to regulations in the name of streamlining the system without strengthening grass-root institutions, a green body today said.

In an assessment of NDA government's one-year record on environmental conservation, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said the more "difficult" agenda remains "neglected" as the government has not unveiled plans to reduce air pollution in cities or to clean Ganga.

"The analysis shows that there have been no major reforms to improve the green clearance processes for safeguarding the environment and lives and livelihoods of communities - rather, incremental changes have been made to 'ease the process' of project clearances.

"This is not different from the previous UPA government where also there was huge hype about delays in green clearance, but the data showed that projects were being cleared and processes were made so convoluted that they stopped working to protect the environment," CSE director general Sunita Narain said in a statement.

Pointing out two trends which are of "concern", the analysis said that project clearances are being "devolved" to state agencies without building capacity or accountability in state-level institutions while there is an effort to dilute the public hearing process.

"If these trends continue, they will severely compromise the integrity of the environmental clearance system, especially if nothing is done to improve governance at the state level and to strengthen institutions and oversight," CSE deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said, adding that the amount of forest land diverted in the first year of NDA rule, had been the least since 2007.

"The sum of the NDA government actions has really amounted to a selective changing of environmental regulations in the name of streamlining the system. But this has been done without strengthening institutions, particularly at the state level, that can monitor pollution, enforce rules and ensure compliance," it said.

First Published: Tue, May 26 2015. 16:42 IST
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