KATHMANDU, May 16: Carrying out mega projects without the approval of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report or in breach of the report will incur hefty fines for mega development projects or industrial ventures, following the endorsement of the Environment Protection Bill by parliament.
The government registered the bill in parliament on Wednesday, proposing up to Rs 5 million in penalties for operating mega projects without the approval of the EIA report or in contravention of an approved report.
“We have proposed to hike the fines for implementing projects without the approval of the EIA report or in contravention of an approved report, with a view to reducing the environmental impact of various projects,” said the spokesman at the Ministry of Forest and Environment Sindhu Dhungana. The hike in fines is up to Rs 5 million from the existing 2.5 million.
According to law, if any project doesn’t accord its development activities with the EIA report following government instructions, the authorities concerned could slap fines three times the original amount for the respective project.
Similarly, the bill has proposed up to Rs 1 million in penalties for violations of the Initial Environment Evaluation (IEE) code and Rs 500,000 in fines for violation of the environment impact assessment summary report. The new legislation has empowered the provincial and local governments to approve the IEE of projects.
The bill has also made it mandatory to study the strategic environment impact of national priority projects and national pride projects and also the government’s strategic plans. The ministry has pushed the bill with a view to implement the constitutional right to live in a clean environment, said ministry officials. Article 30 of the constitution has ensured the right to live in a clean environment for all citizens and has further stated that victims of environmental pollution can get compensation.
The bill has stated that the Environment Department shall ban the use of equipment found to be affecting the environment or causing pollution.
“The bill has paved the way for introducing standards for vehicles, machinery, industries, hotels or restaurants. Based on these provisions, the ministry has been planning to ban the import of Euro 4 standard vehicles very soon,” said Dhungana.
The Environment Department can also blacklist firms or projects repeatedly breaching environment or pollution related standard for up to five years after the enactment of the new law. Similarly, the government has proposed the banning of import of hazardous waste and also made it mandatory for proper disposing of such waste.
The bill has proposed an Environment Protection and Climate Change Management National Council under the prime minister.