Blanket approval is likely to be given by the Indian Environment Ministry concerning an environmental master plans for the country’s nationalised major ports.
India’s 12 government-owned ports had to provide detailed plans to the ministry, outlining future expansion, additional construction and dredging operations , so the government can weigh-up the potential environmental impact.
Any changes to the master plan would not require further environmental clearance should it be passed, so long as an accredited third party guarantees no further increase in pollution levels.
A senior government official said: “This also means that this onetime clearance would be very stringent and might take longer to get. But once a port gets it, implementing projects would gain speed.”
Paul Antony, chairman of the Cochin Port Trust said: “We have already commissioned an environmental impact assessment for our projects and contacted the environment ministry to see how we can go ahead with getting this clearance. This step will save us a lot of time.”
Cochin Port is currently waiting for environmental clearance for around four projects, including a coal terminal, a warehousing zone and a ship repair yard.