Centre relaxes environmental clearance for sugar mills

Why in news?

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) notified a special provision that relaxes norms for getting prior environmental clearance (EC) to sugar manufacturing and distillery projects.


  • The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006 makes it mandatory to get an EC for all new projects, their expansion and modernisation as well as change in product mix.
  • The EC has to be acquired before beginning construction work or preparation of land by the project management, except for securing the land.
  • The latest notification allows all sugar manufacturing and distillery expansion projects to be treated as B2 category under the EIA notification 2006.
  • The new provision applies to all expansion projects of sugar manufacturing or distilleries, having environmental clearances for their present industrial operations and intend to produce ethanol for blending with petrol under the Ethanol Blended with Petrol (EBP) programme.

EBP programme:

  • Ethanol Blended with Petrol (EBP) programme was launched by the government in 2003 to promote the use of alternative and environmental friendly fuels.
  • This intervention also seeks to reduce import dependency for energy requirements, and give boost to the agriculture sector.

The Environment Impact Assessment:

  • It is the assessment of the environmental consequences (positive and negative) of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action.
  • The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that decision makers consider the environmental impacts when deciding whether or not to proceed with a project.
  • The EIA notification has three categories; A, B1 and B2.
  • The projects under category A require EC from MoEF&CC.
  • Category B1 projects get the EC from the state/union territory Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).
  • Category B2 get EC from the SEIAA, the requirements for getting clearance for such projects is easier than category A or B1 projects.
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