In a significant move the central government has modified the green norms (environmental norms) for buildings. It attempts to cover almost all real estate projects under environmental laws and to remove hurdles of obtaining environment clearances from the independent state bodies. Below image shows the new rules for environment clearance.
Source: Times of India
Effect on the industry
The above changes will have widespread ramifications for the industry:
- It makes SEIAA ( State-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority) redundant for projects of size up to 1.5 Lakh sq meters (1 sq mtrs = 10.764 sq ft) as its NOC won’t be required. SEIAA usually takes anywhere from 6 to 24 months in giving its NOC. Thus it will cut down the approval time required for real estate projects.
- It covers even smaller projects of the size between 5000 sq mtrs and 20,000 sq mtrs under environmental laws; earlier they were exempted from getting environmental clearance from SEIAA. Lot of these smaller projects have created havoc with environment especially those near drains and water bodies.
- All housing projects are required to obtain Consent to Establish NOC from the State Pollution Control Board prior to getting plan sanctions and Consent to Operate NOC from State Pollution Control Board after project completion and prior to getting Occupancy Certificate (OC). Now the new norm has removed these requirements for residential projects up to 3 Lakh sq meters. This will reduce unnecessary bureaucratic delays and harassments of builders by local authorities, not to mention corruption. This must be music to the ears of builders! Good news for buyers as well who have to wait anxiously for obtaining OC.
- As the environment clearance will be issued by the municipal corporations for projects up to 1.5 Lakhs sq meters there won’t be inter-departmental fights and litigations on the projects due to environment issues.
State governments should now build & empower their internal environment assessment team to diligently evaluate all projects during & post construction to make sure environmental laws were followed by the builders for the projects.