Government lets private varsities off green hook

In a major decision that will allow a free hand to educational institutions, including those in the private sector, in acquiring land for its campuses, the Narendra Modi government has exempted educational institutions from taking prior permission from the Environment Ministry.

According to green activists, the move is aimed at providing an impetus to growth of private universities in the country. The green nod exemption will provide relief to private varsities such as Shiv Nadar University, which is under the NGT scanner and was denied the go-ahead for construction activity in the Dadri wetlands in Greater Noida area. 

Talking to Millennium Post, Chandra Bhushan of Centre for Science and Environment said, “Instead of exempting green nod clause, the Modi government could have devised a new mechanism fixing the accountability of all stakeholders whose permission is required to start a project. The certificate game is the mother of corruption in building projects, which needs to be fixed.”

“There is an urgent need to fix the role of civil bodies, road departments, regional development agencies, etc that are responsible for environmental disturbances,” said Bhushan adding that he was not against the government notification. 

While environmental activist Gaurav Bansal said, “The decision has been taken at the cost of the environment to provide extra benefits to private universities such as Shiv Nadar, Sharda, etc. It will create a conflict like situation between educational institutions and environmental agencies.”

According to the government order, builders have been exempted from obtaining prior green nod for 
construction of universities, school, college and hostel facilities provided they follow sustainable environment practices. 
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