Legal Provision for Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment in India

They must also provide copies of all application forms relating to the project that were submitted pursuant to other environmental approval processes and “any other document necessary for the Board to dispense with the application”. Twenty copies of each of these documents must be provided to the SPCB.

Public access to executive summaries is available at District Collectors’ Offices, District Industry Centers, the office of the Zila Parishad or Commissioner of the municipal corporation/local body, and SPCB state and Regional offices.

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The hearing process also contains provisions for public notice. SPCBs are required to give notice in at least two newspapers widely circulated in the region around the project, mentioning the date, time and place of public hearings.

Suggestions, views, comments and objections of the Public shall be invited within thirty days from the date of publication. Local residents, environmental groups and others located at the project site likely to be affected can participate in the hearings or submit oral or written briefs to the SPCB. The new hearing process also contains requirements regarding the composition of hearing panels.

Panels also include a representative of the SPCB, the District Collector, a state government representative for the relevant sector under investigation, a representative of the central Ministry of the Environment and Forests, not more than three representatives of local bodies such as municipalities or panchayats, and not more than three senior citizens nominated by the District Collector.

For time bound processing of proposals for public hearing submitted to various State Pollution Control Boards, the EIA Notification was amended in November, 2001, and a time limit of 60 days has been laid down for completion of public hearing.