The environment cell recently set up in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is empowered to grant environment clearance (EC) to all real estate projects measuring 20,000 square metres to 1,50,000 square metres. So now, it will be possible for big real estate projects in Mumbai to get environment EC in Mumbai itself.
Under the earlier arrangement, a State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), created by the Centre under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, was responsible for the environment impact assessment (EIA) notification and take decisions on ECs. Now, this will be manned by the BMC’s environment cell, only for Mumbai.
Under environment impact notification, no-objection certificates (NOCs) or clearances are required for projects spanning over 20,000 square metres to 1,50,000 square metres. This process takes around seven to nine months, then there is the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance that takes four to six months. With the setting up of environmental cell within BMC, this whole process will play out faster.
Working on its ‘ease of doing business’ initiative, the Centre had issued a notification allowing local bodies to process building proposals for environment clearances, last year. The constitution of environment cell within BMC appears to be another move in the same direction.
“The cell will assess and appraise environmental concerns of the area under its jurisdiction. It will monitor the environment audit process by auditors and carry out random checks to verify compliance with environmental conditions,” said Sanjay Darade, chief engineer, development Plan department.
Separate from an environment department which studied environmental problems — and was discarded by the BMC last year — this cell will only look at ECs. The cell consists of three BMC officers who are experts in waste management (solid and liquid), water conservation and management, and transport planning and management. Three other members of the cell are former BMC officers. They will focus on fields such as environment planning including air quality management, energy efficiency, and resource efficiency including building materials.