`System of preparing environmental assessment report flawed`

Jairam Ramesh termed present system of preparing environmental assessment report as flawed.

Updated: Mar 19, 2011, 23:56 PM IST

Hyderabad: Terming the present system of preparing environmental assessment report as "flawed", Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh today said third-party opinion would now be sought to evaluate various projects under the ministry.
The minister also ridiculed the present system of preparing environmental assessment report as a "joke" and said the ministry would take third-party opinion on environmental projects like coal, power and construction of ports.

"Environmental impact assessment report is bit of joke. I admit it publicly. In our system the person who is putting up the project will be preparing the assessment report. I have been very concerned about this. Supreme Court has also expressed its concern," Ramesh told reporters on the sidelines of Green Landscape Summit-2011 organised by CII.

He said the ministry has accredited more than 200 consultants who are authorised to prepare environmental assessment reports and the government would accept their assessment.

"We have done the satellite mapping of all wet lands in the country. We have wetland Atlas of every state which will be released by month-end. So far we did not follow scientific approach of wetland management as in revenue record, wet land is recorded as waste land. All these are legacies of the past.

We will clean up the system," Ramesh said. He, however, cautioned that if government finds that there were misrepresentations in the consultants` report, they would "cancel the accreditation".

"We have blacklisted three consultants for producing fraudulent environmental assessment report," he said.

Replying to a query, the minster said government had issued notices to East Coast Energy and Nagarjuna Constructions, which are setting up projects in Srikakulam District and have received their replies.

"We had asked for certain information which has been provided. If the law is violated, there is no question of condoning the violations," he said.

On Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh, he said Chhattisgarh and Orissa Government have to conduct public opinion and soon there will be an official level meeting among state governments and ministry.