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Investors exempted from dual green nod, state set to benefit 

Chandigarh, September 22

In a big relief for the state government, the Centre has allowed investors seeking to invest in Punjab to get environment clearance from just one authority, instead of two, mandated earlier.

The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Government of India, has withdrawn its earlier order wherein large and medium industrial investors, investing in 20 “highly polluting industries” were to get clearance from State Environment Assessment Committee (SEAC), headed by the Secretary, Science and Technology, Punjab, which usually takes four to six months and then from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

According to official sources, this dual clearance required for projects had been delaying investments in Punjab. The order, making it mandatory for investors to seek clearance of industrial licence from the SEAC was issued in 1984, to check and prevent air, water and soil pollution arising out of 20 categories of industry. It was only in 2006 that the environmental clearance before starting the construction of project was brought in. This notification made it mandatory that detailed studies, procedures and conditions, need to be complied with before the industrial project is given a final go-ahead. Under this, an environment impact assessment study of the surrounding area of the project site is required and the local administration has to have a public hearing before allowing the project. 

“The SEIAA rules are far more stringent than the SEAC requirements. Investors were wary because of these overlapping environmental clearances. Though these rules applied to other states as well, but neighbouring states are not insisting on dual clearances. Punjab had been taking up this matter with the Centre for the past couple of months, and on our insistence, the circular mandating clearance from the SEAC has been withdrawn,” said Rajat Aggarwal, CEO, Invest Punjab.

Now, all those investors, waiting to set up green-field or brown-field projects in paper and pulp, dyes, leather tanning, basic pharmaceutical industry, foundries, plastics and electro-plating industry will require lesser time to start their projects. This comes at a time when the state is making efforts to woo big ticket investors through its Progressive Punjab Summit, scheduled for December.

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