The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) is planning to make public hearings mandatory for all mining licences coming up for renewal or where the mine is going in for expansion. The move is expected to add another layer of control over mining activities at a time when the Prime Minister’s Office is keen to ease regulations and speed up projects.

Public hearing is a mandatory step in the process of environmental clearance for addressing concerns of affected persons which is conducted by the state pollution control board (SPCB). It is supposed to be completed within 45 days from the date of receipt of the request letter from the applicant, but often, the time taken is much more. Normally, the process is adopted while giving a fresh mining lease.

New Delhi With land acquisition for national manufacturing and investment zones (NMIZ) becoming a tall order for states, many of them have urged the commerce and industry ministry to ease land requirement norms for the same.

States like Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, among others, have urged the ministry to reduce the minimum land requirement of 5,000 hectare to 1,000 hectare as it would put pressure on agricultural land.

New Delhi Environment, public hearing rules may be eased

Some relaxation in green norms for coal mining may be on the cards. Keen to step up coal output, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) will discuss on Friday options including an easing of environment and forest clearance norms for 13 Coal India projects besides relaxing the Forest Rights Act for the coal miner. The Act seeks to recognise and vest forest rights and occupation in forest-dwelling scheduled tribes and other traditional forest-dwellers living there for generations but whose rights could not be recorded.

New Delhi Even as the Prime Minister pitches for infrastructure investments, the Union environment ministry is planning to reduce the area available for mining and other infrastructure projects. Official sources told FE the ministry would soon earmark “inviolate areas” which would apply to all development and infrastructural projects, besides subsuming nine coal fields in Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, which were earlier termed “no go”areas. So the new norms will be much more prohibitive than the earlier regime.

“The go, no go classification will be subsumed in the definition of the inviolate areas. In addition, there will be 7-8 criteria defining inviolate areas, including protected area status, crop diversity, biodiversity richness and the number of species found.

New Delhi Emphasising the need for a new corporate culture to make businesses more sustainable, Union minister for corporate affairs Veerappa Moily has urged India Inc to balance equity and growth.

“Sustainability is a major concern for the corporate sector and business community, especially in developing countries like ours. We have to look at our present without compromising the future. Global warming is the true challenge when it comes to environmental damage,”

New Delhi If you thought that interest in climate change has tapered off, think again. Companies in India have increasingly become aware of the impact of climate change, environmental and social factors on their businesses and have taken action on critical environmental challenges like green house gas (GHG) emissions, water use and waste management.

The efforts on managing GHG emissions and energy use are starting to show results, according to the fourth edition of the FE-EVI Green Business Survey. Overall, GHG intensities have decreased at an annual rate of 3%. The growth rate of absolute emissions has declined from 4.11% last year to 3.7% this year.

New Delhi: After a long hiatus, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) is back in action, taking strong measures to protect its stance on various issues pertaining to environment and forest