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| Last Updated:17/03/2020

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Centre delegates its powers to act against green violators to states

NEW DELHI: In order to avoid cases of environmental violations being piled up at the Centre, the ministry of environment and forests has delegated its power to "issue show cause notice" to violators of specific projects to states and Union Territories. 

The move to decentralize the power will help the state and UT level environment impact assessment authorities to take an effective action or corrective measures on the ground quickly without waiting for the Centre to take remedial measures. 

The ministry had issues the notification to this effect on February 28. This order will, however, not dilute the powers of the central ministry which may any time invoke its powers. 

The notification has been in tune with the government's "action taken report" (ATR) on the recommendations of the Shah Commission which had probed cases of illegal mining in Goa and Odisha and pitched for reforms in issues concerning environmental and forest clearances and their proper implementation at the state level. 

Under this delegated power, the state and UT authorities will now issue show cause notice in the cases pertaining to violations of the conditions under environment clearances and keep the order of its green nods in abeyance. The state\UT bodies will also have power to withdraw the previous environment clearances if the project proponents violate the "conditions" of green nods. The Central government will step in only when the action is necessary in public interest. 

Notification, issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, is pertained to Section 5 of the Act which empowers the Centre to issue such show cause notice and even exercise the powers for "the closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process and stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service (to the projects)." 

Under the February 28 notification, these powers are now delegated to the states as per provision of Section 23 of the 1986 Act. 

It, however, said the environment ministry may "revoke such delegations of powers or may itself invoke the provisions of Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, if in the opinion of the central government such a course of action is necessary in the public interest."

The Times of India (14-03-2014)