Procedure to Conduct Public Hearing

1.0  The Public Hearing shall be arranged in a systematic, time bound and transparent manner ensuring widest possible public participation at the project sites (s) or in its close proximity District-wise, by the concerned State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) or the Union Territory Pollution Control Committee (UTPCC).

2.0     The Process:

2.1  The application shall make a request through a simple letter to the Member Secretary of the SPCB or Union Territory Pollution Control Committee, in whose jurisdiction the project is located, to arrange the public hearing within the prescribed statutory period. In case the project site is covering more than one District or State or Union Territory, the public hearing is mandated in each District, State or Union Territory in which the project is located and the application shall make separate requests to each concerned SPCB or UTPCC for holding the public hearing as per this procedure.

2.2 The applicant shall enclose with the letter of request, at least 10 hard copies and an equivalent number of soft (electronic) copies of the draft EIA Report with the generic structure given in Appendix III including the Summary Environment Impact Assessment Report in English and in the official language of the state/local language, prepared strictly in accordance with the Terms of Reference communicated after Scoping (Stage-2). Simultaneously the applicant shall arrange to forward copies, one hard and one soft, of the above draft EIA reporting along with the Summary EIA report to the following authorities or offices, within whose jurisdiction the project will be located:

(a)   District Magistrate/District Collector/Deputy commissioner/s

(b)   Zilla Parishad or Municipal Corporation or Panchayats Union

(c)    District Industries Office

(d)   Urban Local Bodies (ULBS) /PRIs Concerned /Development authorities.

(e)   Concerned Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests

2.3 On receiving the draft Environment Impact Assessment report, the above-mentioned authorities except the Regional Office of MoEF, shall arrange to widely publicize it within their respective jurisdictions requesting the interested persons to send their comments to the concerned regulatory authorities. They shall also make available the draft EIA Report for inspection electronically or otherwise to the public during normal office hours till the public hearing is over.

2.4 The SPCB or UTPCC concerned shall also make similar arrangements for giving publicity about the project within the State/Union Territory and make available the Summary of the draft Environment Impact Assessment report (Appendix III A) for inspection in select offices or public libraries or any other suitable location etc. They shall also additionally make available a copy of the draft Environment Impact Assessment report to the above five authorities/offices as given in para 2.2.

3.0    Notice Public Hearing:

3.1 The Member-Secretary of the concerned SPCB or UTPCC shall finalize the date, time and exact venue for the conduct of public hearing within 7 (seven) days of the date of receipt of the draft Environment Impact Assessment report from the project proponent, and advertise the same in one major  National Daily and  one Regional vernacular Daily /Official State Language. A minimum notice period of 30 (thirty) days shall be provided to the public for furnishing their responses;

3.2 The advertisement shall also inform the public about the places or offices where the public could access the draft Environment Impact Assessment report before the public hearing. In places where the newspapers do not reach, the Competent Authority should arrange to inform the local public about the public hearing by other means such as by way of beating of drums as well as advertisement / announcement on radio/television.

3.3   No postponement of the date, time, venue of the public hearing shall be undertaken, unless some untoward emergency situation occurs and then  only on the recommendation of the concerned District Magistrate/District collector/Deputy commissioner, the postponement shall be notified to the public through the same National and Regional vernacular dailies and also prominently displayed at all the identified offices by the concerned SPCB or Union Territory pollution Control Committee;

3.4  In the above exceptional circumstances, fresh date, time and venue for the public consultation shall be decided by the Member-Secretary of the concerned SPCB or UTPCC only in consultation with the District Magistrate/District collector/Deputy commissioner and notified afresh as per procedure under 3.1 above.

4.0   Supervision and Presiding over the Hearing:

4.1  The District Magistrate /District collector/Deputy commissioner or his or her representative not below the rank of an Additional District Magistrate assisted by a representative of SPCB or UTPCC, shall supervise and preside over the entire public hearing process.

5.0   Videography:

5.1  The SPCB or UTPCC shall arrange to video film the entire proceedings. A copy of the videotape or a CD shall be enclosed with the public hearing proceedings while forwarding it to the Regulatory Authority concerned.

6.0   Proceedings:

6.1 The attendance of all those who are present at the venue shall be noted and annexed with the final proceedings.

6.2 There shall be no quorum required for attendance for starting the proceedings.

6.3 A representative of the applicant shall initiate the proceedings with a presentation on the project and the Summary EIA report.

6.4 Persons present at the venue shall be granted the opportunity to seek information or clarifications on the project from the applicant. The summary of the public hearing proceedings accurately reflecting all the views and concerns expressed shall be recorded by the representative of the SPCB or UTPCC and read over to the audience at the end of the proceedings explaining the contents in the local/vernacular language and the agreed minutes shall be signed by the District Magistrate /District collector/Deputy commissioner or his or her representative on the same day and forwarded to the SPCB/UTPCC concerned.

6.5 A statement of the issues raised by the public and the comments of the applicant shall also be prepared in the local language or the Official State language, as the case may be, and in English and annexed to the proceedings:-

6.6 The proceedings of the public hearing shall be conspicuously displayed at the office of the Panchyats within whose jurisdiction the project is located, office of the concerned Zilla Parishad, District Magistrate /District collector/Deputy commissioner, and the SPCB or UTPCC. The SPCB or UTPCC shall also display the proceedings on its website for general information. Comments, if any, on the proceedings, may be sent directly to the concerned regulatory authorities and the applicant concerned.

7.0  Time period for completion of public hearing:

7.1 The public hearing shall be completed within a period of forty five days from date of receipt of the request letter from the applicant. Thereafter the SPCB or UTPCC concerned shall send the public hearing proceedings to the concerned regulatory authority within eight days of the completion of the public hearing. Simultaneously, a copy will also be provided to the project proponent. The applicant may also directly forward a copy of the approved public hearing proceedings to the regulatory authority concerned along with the final Environmental Impact Assessment report or supplementary report to the draft EIA report prepared after the public hearing and public consultations incorporating the concerns expressed in the public hearing along with action plan and financial allocation, item-wise, to address those concerns.

7.2 If the SPCB or UTPCC fails to hold the public hearing within the stipulated 45 (forty five) days, the Central government in Ministry of Environment and Forests for Category ‘A‘ project or activity and the State Government or union Territory  Administration  for Category ‘B‘ project or activity  at the request of the SEIAA, shall engage any other agency or authority to complete the process, as per procedure laid down in this Notification.