Roundtable Meeting on "Revisiting Environment Impact Assessment for Buildings"

Date: September 8, 2011
Venue: CSE office, India Habitat Centre

The Centre for Science and Environment's Sustainable Building Programme has taken its first step by reviewing the regulation for Environment-Friendly buildings (also popularly known as green / sustainable buildings) in India. The Environmental Clearance process, part of the EIA notification of Government of India is the only comprehensive and nationally applicable instrument and CSE has looked into the status of implementation and the effectiveness of this instrument. A round-table of stakeholders was convened on the 8th September 2011 at New Delhi which was attended by several eminent professionals involved in the EC process for buildings in different capacities.

The lively deliberations that followed the presentation by CSE have touched all aspects of the process and its purpose. Largely the stakeholders have opined that the relevance of EIA needs to be critically reviewed as 'land selection' is a given in the clearance process as opposed to being a variable in the EIA exercise. Experts have thrown light on systemic issues that hinder the effectiveness of the process. Various members of the clearance committees and authorities have also expressed the need for institutional reform in the way they operate. Both consultants and independent sector experts have pointed the gaps in technical requirements of compliance that need to be bridged or strengthened to actually make EIA effective in minimizing impact.

There was convergence amongst the participants that the direction of urban growth should be guided by a national policy that has sustainability as its core concern; which might actually set limits to growth of cities and guide development in areas that still have enough carrying capacity to accommodate newer growth. Such exercises, seemingly are taking place in an experimental manner. It was felt that the meeting raised many pertinent issues but solutions also need to be discussed at greater length. The outcomes of this meeting shall be incorporated into the report and circulated to the stakeholders and CSE shall engage at various levels to transform the EIA - Buildings practice in India.

For more details, please get in touch with Sakshi C. Dasgupta at call her on 9811910901.