Maruti Suzuki has two huge production facilities in Manesar and Gurgaon, Haryana. The company is in the process of developing a new R&D and testing centre in Rohtak in the same state. The huge facility will be built over an area of 600 acres and it was expected that the testing centre will be functional by 2015. However, the R&D centre has hit a roadblock and currently the facility is stalled. According to the Environment and Forest Minister from the previous government, any industry that wanted to construct a premise of over 20,000 sq.metres was required to seek an environmental clearance.
This rule has affected many companies because their development projects get delayed by a long period while waiting for the clearance to pass. The issue has been conveyed to the Prime Minister since there is a confusion in proper understanding of the rule. The rule actually states that the environmental clearance is only required for residential projects and that industrial projects are exempted from it. The matter is still in court and hence officials from Maruti Suzuki refused to comment. If the rule applies to industrial projects too, then every company developing a project utilising an area above 6 acres would have to face an additional delay of at least 18 months.
Maruti has obtained all the clearances required for air and water pollution and hazardous waste. The company had even asked for the environmental clearance in 2013 even though it wasn’t sure whether the certificate would be required or not. Maruti then began construction of the R&D centre in 2014 and that is when the government initiated action against the company. Maruti was also warned that such violations shouldn’t be repeated. The Delhi High Court then asked the government to stop taking action against Maruti while also stating that the company needs to obtain a post-facto environmental clearance.
The Haryana State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority then moved the court against the verdict. Since a judgement on this matter is yet to arrive, Maruti has had to stall all operational activities at the Rohtak site as of now.