New Delhi: Clearing the decks for a new state-of-the-art exhibition-cum-convention centre (ECC) in the national capital, an expert panel of the Union environment ministry has recommended environmental clearance for the project.

Lack of such a space had resulted in the national capital losing the chance to host the recent RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) meeting. In December 2016, Mint reported that lack of a sufficiently large convention centre in the national capital region forced the central government to shift the RCEP meeting to a city in south India.

The project, to be developed by the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corp. Ltd, will comprise of 13 buildings, including an exhibition centre, 1,300 rooms of five star hotels, 800 rooms of four star hotels, 1,000 rooms of three star hotel, 500 service apartments, two office spaces and huge retail space.

It was discussed during the latest meeting of the ministry of environment, forest and climate change’s (MoEFCC) expert appraisal committee (EAC) for infrastructure projects on 26-28 July.

The investment cost of the project which, when completed, will be one of the biggest in Asia and is estimated to be Rs25,367 crore. It is expected to have a direct employment potential of 53,704 jobs during the operation phase.

During the meeting, the EAC was informed that the “ECC will become the centre place for sponsoring and conducting international and national meetings".

After detailed deliberations, the EAC recommended the project for grant of environmental clearance. After EAC’s recommendation, the project will go to the environment ministry for clearance but it is very rare that the environment ministry overturns the committee’s recommendation.

The expert committee, however, said that dust, smoke and other air pollution prevention measures shall be provided for the building as well as the site, including providing workers with dust masks. It also said that all construction and demolition debris shall be stored at the site (and not dumped on the roads or open spaces outside) before they are properly disposed.

EAC also gave detailed directions for water conservation, energy conservation, recycling of water, development of green belt and said that adequate space shall be provided for solid waste management within the premises which will include area for segregation and composting.

It also held that no ground water shall be used during the construction/operation phase of the project.

The panel asked for use of environment-friendly materials in bricks, blocks and other construction material for at least 20% of the construction material quantity.

It also called for a dedicated environment monitoring cell which will ensure that the environment infrastructure like sewage treatment plant, landscaping, rain water harvesting, energy efficiency and conservation, water efficiency and conservation, solid waste management, renewable energy are kept operational and meet the required standards.

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