Over 500 applications for environmental clearances approved: Javadekar

New Delhi, June 8 (IANS) Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said over 500 of the 3,200 online applications received for environmental clearances were approved last year.

Listing the achievements of his ministry in its first year, Javadekar said: “We have given clearance to 505 (applications) and another 721 have been sent for terms of reference.”

The ministry introduced online application submission process in July 2014.

Javadekar said his ministry’s focus is on enforcing the existing norms and guidelines as well as introduction of stringent fines for violators.

“We have made environmental norms for cement industry more stringent while those for sand, stone-crushing, brick-kiln, fertilisers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, paper and pulp, paint, distilleries and other sectors are being reviewed.”

So far, 124 industries not complying with air pollution norms have been closed, the minister said.

Another 64 non-complying industries on the banks of Ganga and 61 industries throughout the country were closed for not adhering to water pollution norms.

Further, 11 units in Uttar Pradesh and seven in Delhi were shut down for producing plastic carry bags below 40 microns.

“Technology-based monitoring systems are being expanded for forest appraisal, wildlife management and pollution control while drones, electronic surveillance, camera traps, 24×7 pollution monitoring devices, geo-mapping is being increasingly used,” Javadekar said.

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