Maharashtra state government has relaxed several norms relating to environmental clearances for construction projects. These relaxations would help in easing permissions and processes mandated by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Ministry of Environment and Forests.
As per the proposed changes, it is now allowed to submit of development proposals simultaneously to the planning authority and the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). As per the existing norms, proposals in Coastal Regulation Zone (2) area are required to be submitted first to the planning authority and later to the MCZMA.
The government has agreed to grant priority to proposals merely seeking amendment and expansion of existing clearances as opposed to new submissions.
Further, the proposed changes exempt real estate projects from an online monitoring system, which monitors commercial, information technology and green building projects. As a result of this proposed change, the project proponent (PP) will no longer be made responsible for operation and maintenance of pollution control systems in a housing society. According to the existing norms of MPCB, the PP would be held responsible for five years for systems installed after the formation of a society in a residential project. It’s felt that the PP has no role to play once the premise is handed over to the society.
According to the state government officials, these measures would considerably ease doing business in the state and help the real estate sector a speedy revival. However, its feared that these slew of measures are likely to invite the ire of environmentalists and activists.
It should be noted that the state government last week had announced a slew of fiscal concessions to the struggling construction sector, costing the State exchequer ₹800 crore. Among the measures were removal of development cess on the additional floor space index component.