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Environmental policies and programmes of India

Dr. G. V. Subramanium
Director, CP Division, Ministry of Environment & Forest

Spatial Planning – Importance

  • Natural Resources are located (on land/space) at spatial sites.
  • Sites are demanded for and used for various uses. Demand for Land/uses is more than availability.
  • To protect natural resources and to use them on sustainable basis, these sites must be preserved and developed.
  • Use conflicts are existing every where and have to be fairly managed (e.g. agriculture versus forestry)

Objectives of Ecologically Compatible Landuse Planning

  • Preserve and protect important sensitive sites of natural resources to allow their sustainable use.
  • Rehabilitation of degraded sites.
  • Develop Sites / lands in accordance with their environmental properties/ ecological significance (ecologically sites specific use).

EIA Vis-a Vis Imperatives of Spatial Environmental Planning in India

  • Targets for industrial development are fixed.
  • Sites for industries are rarely predetermined.
  • Selection of sites rests with entrepreneurs.
  • Consideration of Environmental Aspects are inadequate.
  • Information available is weak.
  • Decision making is weak.
  • Lack of spatial plan leads to environmentally incompatible development.

Environmental Planning in India

  • A major thrust of Indo-German bi-lateral project- “Strengthening of Central/ State PCBs”
  • Need for Environmental Planning in India is well recognised.
  • EP Act authorises Central Govt. “To take all such measures as it deems necessary for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution”.
  • Measures under this clause include:
  • “Planning and execution of nationwide programme for the prevention, control and abatement of Environmental Pollution”.

Development of Environmental Planning Concept in India

  • CPCB to develop concepts and to test them in UT of Pondicherry.
  • Indo-German bilateral TA Project – since 1990.
  • Study of District Hasan – Industrial Siting suitability atlas – Karnataka State Council of Science & Technology.
  • Publication of Atlas.
  • Conduction of further studies through out the country.
  • Environmental Planning Cell – CPCB
  • Indo-German bilateral TA
  • Provided advisory services
  • Infrastructural support (hardware, software)
  • 1995-96 : 23 districts in 17 states – comprehensive land capability planning guidelines for siting of polluting industries.
  • Each study contains a set of maps in the form of an atlas (scale 1:250000).
  • Stating and evaluating the siting suitability of the whole area of the district.
  • Evaluation is based on:
  • Assessment of spatially distributed environmental factors.
  • Siting suitability to different types of industries.
  • Classified according to their expected environmental impacts
  • Evaluation is stated ranging from “not suitable” to “highly suitable”
  • District-wise Zoning Atlas Project under World Bank EMCBTA.

   

Constraints for Introducing Integrated Spatial Planning in India

  • Economic interest are generally override environmental aspects
  • Country is very large.
  • Highly Complex nature of Planning activities.
  • Spatial Planning has limited existence.
  • Lack of legal framework.
  • Lack of financial resources.
  • Lack of Environmental Awareness.
  • Shortage of Manpower
  • Limitation technical competence.
  • Environmental Management includes:
  • Spatial Aspects
  • “Restriction of areasin which any industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards”
  • This calls for a spatial approach in environmental management.
  • Further substantiated in the EP Act Rules which states “Such restrictions be carried out under consideration of environmentally compatible land use.”

Need for Introducing Spatial Environmental Planning in India

  • Rapid industrialisation and urbanisation
  • Increasing intervention of judiciary
  • Increasing regulatory risk to industries
  • Demand for improved quality of life
  • Increasing environmental awareness
  • Need for optimal utilization of resources
  • Protection of ecological assets
  • Well prepared plan – economic and social development – environment protection.

Strategy for Spatial Environmental Planning

  • Compile and assess information on all aspects and locations of natural resources.
  • Develop prior to investment spatial protection and development objectives.
  • Offer to all investors/future land uses sufficent and ecologically compatible sites for industrial development and residential purposes.
  • Extensive co-ordination with the sectoral Ministries/ Departments
  • Annual regular interactive meetings with concerned Ministries/ Departments
  • Training and Awareness programmes to actual users.
  • Integration of spatial environmental data into sectoral planning activities (town and country planning departments, district adm., municipalities etc)
  • Introduction of regional planningat district level (district-wise zoning atlas).
  • Strengthening of CPCB (technically and administratively)
  • Institutionalisation of the concept of spatial environmental planning
  • Rules for spatial environmental planning under the EP act.