Only 9 pollution control bodies share details of public hearings online: CSE transparency index

Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar, Puducherry, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu and Uttar Pradesh share no detail of public hearings

By Shreya Verma
Published: Monday 16 August 2021

Pollution control bodies of most Indian states shared no or partial information on public hearings of development projects online, a new study found.

There are 34 state pollution control boards (SPCB) and pollution control committees (PCC) in the country that make pollution information public on websites. Of them, those in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar, Puducherry, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu and Uttar Pradesh did not share any detail of public hearings, according to the report.

The study was conducted the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based non-profit that ranked all the state pollution control panels based on transparency in several parameters.

Websites of sixteen SPCBs and PCCs provided incomplete information. Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand provided executive summaries and minutes of meetings, but not the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports, the paper mentioned.

Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Sikkim shared executive summaries and draft EIA reports, but not minutes of public hearings, according to the report.

Himachal Pradesh shared minutes of meeting and draft EIA report but didn’t specify the date of the next public hearing.

Haryana, Jharkhand and Tripura shared meeting minutes only of projects for which public hearings are over. Assam pollution control board has shared just the list of public hearings conducted and no other detail on their website, the researchers wrote in the report.

Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli have a common pollution control body and the one in Lakshadweep does not have a website.

Only Karnataka, Telangana, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Goa and Mizoram have put out all the necessary information on public hearings on their websites.

How transparent are pollution control bodies (public hearings)

Nivit Kr Yadav, programme director of the industrial pollution team of CSE, said:

It is perplexing that only nine boards have given detailed information, considering it is their job to conduct a public hearing and put up all the relevant information on their website. Their website is the best medium to source information.

Public hearing is a mandatory step in the process of getting an environmental clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for projects under Category ‘A’ in the Schedule.

Projects that fall under Category B are cleared by the state government or the state-level environment impact assessment authority.

The interaction between locals and government officials as well as proponents of upcoming project brings transparency in the environmental clearance system, according to environmental experts.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.