To ensure environmental protection, the Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) has mandated prior environmental clearance for certain developmental projects. The MoEF issued an Office Memorandum on November 3, 2009, to outline the policy for expanding existing ports and initiating new projects along the coastline. The various developmental projects and activities are categorised according to the EIA Notification 2006 and its amendment that includes EIA. Major sources of the adverse effects on account of Environment Clearance for ports can be categorised into the following types:
- Location of port
- Construction, dredging and reclamation
- Port operation, including ship traffic and discharges
- Cargo handling, storage, and transport
Process of Environment Clearance for Ports and Harbour Projects
In the case of ports and harbour projects (Category B projects), screening involves reviewing an application submitted in Form 1 by the SEAC to determine if the project needs additional environmental studies and an (EIA) report. This depends on the nature and location of the project. If an EIA report is required, the project is classified as Category B1, while those that do not require an EIA report are classified as Category B2. Following are the documents and the necessary details required during the Environment Clearance for ports and harbors
- Complete postal address as mentioned in the application
- Brief description of the proposal
- Nature of project (New/Expansion/Amendment/Extension etc.)
- Whether the proposal was considered in earlier meetings of EAC
- Whether the proposal is part of an interlinked project
- Address of project site (Plot No./Village/ Tehsil/ District/State)
- Geo-coordinates of the project site
- Area (ha)/Length (km) of the proposed project
- Connectivity to the site
- Investment/Cost of the project (Rs. in Lakh)
- Item of Schedule to the EIA Notification, 2006
- Landuse/Landcover of the project site in tabular form
- List to industries to be housed with the proposed project site, only for projects covered under the 7(c) category of EIA Notification, 2006
- Details of water bodies, impact on drainage, if any
- Water requirements, sources (during construction and operation phases) and NOC
- Groundwater extraction/usage and NOC/Clearance from CGWA/State Ground Water Department
- Whether the project is in Critically Polluted area (Yes or No. If yes, provide brief details)
- Terms of Reference (TOR) in Environment Clearance for ports
For Category A projects, the EAC and for Category B1 projects, the SEAC are responsible for determining the Terms of Reference (TOR) that address all relevant environmental concerns and CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) issues. This is based on the information provided by the applicant in Form 1, site visits, and other relevant information available with the EAC or SEAC. The CRZ maps showing the High Tide Line (HTL), Low Tide Line (LTL), and the project layout on a 1:5000 scale map must also be submitted. The TOR is determined to prepare a comprehensive EIA report.
The environmental concerns that are expected from the construction of a port or harbour are taken into consideration, and the TOR are created. The proponent must also identify any specific issues related to the project and include them in the TOR to prepare the EIA report. The ToR details required are as follow
- Public Hearing Details and Summary of issues raised and response/commitments by the proponent
- Whether the project is in the CRZ area: If yes, provide details of components in CRZ area, layout on CRZ map of 1:4000 scale prepared by an authorised agency and appraisal by State Coastal Zone Management Authority (SCZMA).
- If the project involves foreshore facilities, provide details of shoreline study, details, disposal of dredge material, cargo handling with dust control measures, reclamation and oil Spill Contingent Management Plan.
- If the project involves Marine disposal, provide a copy of NOC from SPCB/PCC and details of the modelling study
- Brief description of the Socio-economic condition of local people:
- Land acquisition and R&R issues involved
- Employment potential
- Benefits of the project
- A brief summary of specialised Studies carried out for the project as per the ToR.
- Details of Court cases
Public Consultation Stage
The term “public consultation” refers to identifying the concerns of locally affected persons and others interested in the environmental impact of a project or activity. The purpose is to consider all relevant issues in the project design as appropriate. Public consultation is required for Environment Clearance for ports or activities, except those related to national defence and security or other strategic considerations determined by the central government. Once the public consultation is complete, the applicant must address all material environmental concerns expressed during this process and make appropriate changes to the draft EIA and EMP. The final EIA report, which includes these changes, must be submitted by the applicant to the regulatory authority for appraisal. Alternatively, the applicant may submit a supplementary report that addresses all concerns expressed during the public consultation. For ports and harbours, public consultation is mandatory for all Category A and B1 projects, except for those related to national defence and security or other strategic considerations determined by the Central Government.
The EAC or SEAC will thoroughly review the application and supporting documents, including the final EIA report and the results of any public consultations, submitted by the applicant to the authority for approval of Environment Clearance for ports and harbors.
Post Environmental Clearance Monitoring
For Category A projects, the project proponent must make the environmental clearance granted for their project public by advertising it in at least two local newspapers in the district or state where the project is located. Additionally, it must be permanently displayed on the project proponent’s website at their expense. For Category B projects, the project proponent must advertise that the project has received environmental clearance and provide details of the MoEF website where it is displayed. The project management must submit half-yearly compliance reports to the regulatory authority on June 1st and December 1st of each calendar year, and these reports must be made public documents. The most recent compliance report must also be displayed on the regulatory authority’s website.
Transferability of Environment Clearance
During the validity period of a prior environmental clearance granted to an applicant for a project or activity, the clearance can be transferred to another legal person entitled to undertake the same project or activity. This transfer is subject to the transferor or transferee applying for it and obtaining a written “no objection” from the transferor. The regulatory authority concerned may grant this transfer on the terms and conditions under which prior environmental clearance was granted initially and for the same validity period.
The project proponent must make public the Environment Clearance for ports or harbors and submit half-yearly compliance reports regarding the terms and conditions. The prior environmental clearance may be transferred to another legal entity entitled to undertake the project during its validity period, subject to certain conditions.