Metro rail projects need environmental clearance, states NGT


In a decision that could cause some delays in metro rail projects, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has held that all metro rail projects need to assess the impact of the project on the environment and obtain clearances, accordingly

The National Green Tribunal (NGT), on May 31, 2016, held that all metro rail projects need to obtain an environmental clearance, after conducting proper Environment Impact Assessment.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson, justice Swatanter Kumar, said that the Noida Metro Rail, whose construction was challenged in a plea before, fell under Schedule 8(b) of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, relating to buildings, construction and development projects, which are mandated to get prior environmental clearance.

The green panel also directed the upcoming Noida-Greater Noida metro project to obtain environmental clearance from the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

See also: Can infrastructure development be environment-friendly?

The order was passed on the plea filed by environmentalist Vikrant Tongad, seeking directions to Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC), to obtain environmental clearance for its project from Noida to Greater Noida after conducting a proper environment impact assessment (EIA) of the project.

“From the detailed project report (DPR), it is clear that the total land requirement for the metro rail project from Noida to Greater Noida, is around 2,84,762.01 sq metres. However, no EIA report was prepared. This fact was verified by the applicant, by inspecting the records of the project under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

“It is submitted that as per 8(b) of the Schedule of EIA Notification, 2006, projects covering an area of more than 50 hectares or built-up area of more than 1,50,000 sq metres, require environmental clearance and is to be appraised as category ‘B1’ project,” the plea, filed through advocate Rahul Choudhary, had said.

Tongad had stated that the metro from Noida to Greater Noida will pass through Hindon and piers would be constructed on the river bed, which can significantly harm the aquatic habitat of the river.

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