Centre to set up National Environmental Protection Authority


Ramesh said a broad agreement on NEPA was reached at a meeting with state Environment and Forest ministers in Delhi yesterday.

"It was decided that we need an institutional set up, which will enforce environmental laws and standards and impose harsh penalty for non-compliance," he told reporters here.

Ramesh said in the next one month, the Centre would circulate discussion papers on NEPA among state governments and after having consultations with them, the Authority would be suitably empowered by the law.

"What we are envisaging is to prepare a detailed plan for NEPA in the next three months. In that plan, there would be a proposal for setting up of a state or regional environment protection authority as well," Ramesh said.

The announcement comes a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed concern over environment clearance becoming a "new form of licence raj and source of corruption".
In his address to the national conference of state ministers of environment and forests in Delhi yesterday, Singh had said the matter needed to be addressed, so as to make the process "fair, transparent and hassle-free".

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