Kashmir Entrepreneurship gets jolt as GOI shelves re-constitution of SEIAA and SLEAC

PCB unable to give permission to new industrial units due to absence of expert committees

Srinagar, May 17 (RNA): Amid tall claims of encouraging entrepreneurship in the valley, the Government has left all important State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) dysfunctional since January this year halting the registration of all new industrial units requiring permission from the Pollution Control Board. The Previous SEIAA notified by the Union ministry of Environment, Forest and Ecology on 28th January 2016,which is responsible for recommending the cases of establishment of industrial units for PCB permission finished its three year term January 28th, 2019 after which its powers were withdrawn resulting in stalling of the establishment of industrial units which require Pollution Control Board permissions for the operation. The Non- Existence of the committee has adversely affected the small scale industries in the state particularly in the valley.

“In exercise of the Powers conferred by Sub-Section( 3) of section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 ( 29 of 1986) and in pursuance of the Notification  of the Government of India in the erstwhile Ministry of Environment and Forests number S.O 1533 ( E), dated 14th September , 2006 ( herein referred to as the said notification), the Central Government hereby constitutes the State Level Environment impact Assessment Authority ( SEIAA), Jammu and Kashmir.” reads the order issued by the ministry, a copy of which is with RNA. The committee was to hold office for three years which expired on 28th of this year.

“The Chairman and the members of the Authority for Jammu and Kashmir shall hold office for a term of three years from the date of publication of this notification in the Official Gazaette.”

Interestingly the ten member State Level Expert Appraisal Committee, was also notified in the same notification for a term of three years . The committee  which includes members from Forest, Environment, Geology and Minining and other such departments besides Environmentalists and Scientists is mandatory for studying the Project report and recommend the case to SEIAA if it deems fit for the referral. This committee too ceases to exist as of now and the Government of India is yet to notify another committee which has caused distress among the new entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile a senior Officer in the State Government told RNA that they had written to the Government of India for the fresh constitution of SEIAA and Appraisal Committee but there has been no word from the Environment ministry in New Delhi.

When asked what was the fate of the cases that need to be routed through these bodies, the Officer said that all cases seeking permission for establishment of units stand pending from January. He however, did not provide details regarding the number and nature of the cases.

Meanwhile various unit holders particularly those associated with mining told RNA that their cases were Pending for Pollution Control Board Permission due to non- existence of the SEIAA. They alleged that Government at Center was reluctant to re- constitute the essential body. They however, lashed out at Governor Administration for not taking up the matter seriously with the Central Environment ministry. (RNA)