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Environment ministry extends expiry date for existing clearances to March 31 next year

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New Delhi (ILNS): The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has amended the 2006 Environment Impact Assessment notification while taking into account the outbreak of Covid-19 epidemic.

Prior environmental clearances granted whose validity is expiring in the Financial Year 2020-2021, shall be extended till March 31, 2021 or six months from the date of expiry of validity or six months from the date of expiry of validity whichever is later.

According to the Ministry, it has received a number of requests for extension of the validity of prior environmental clearances, beyond the maximum period allowed in the notification, as the threat to COVID-19 pandemic has been over. Environmental clearance is the period from which a prior environmental clearance is granted by the regulatory authority, to the start of production operations by the project or activity, or completion of all construction operations.

The new provision inserted by the amendment reads as follows:

“9A. Notwithstanding anything contained in this notification, the validity of prior environmental clearances granted under the provisions of this notification in respect of the projects or activities whose validity is expiring in the Financial Year 2020-2021 shall deemed to be extended till March 31, 2021 or six months from the date of expiry of validity, whichever is later. Such extension is subject to same terms and conditions of the prior environmental clearance in the respective clearance letters, to ensure uninterrupted operations of such projects or activities which have been stalled due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and subsequent lockdowns (total or partial) declared for its control.”

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