Development is an ever growing process and its impact is often detrimental to environment which in turn may lead to adverse consequences for human life. Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is an anticipatory and participatory environment management tool which helps in the decision-making process for different upcoming development projects by analyzing the environmental consequences of the action. The large scale projects like setting up of Special Investment Regions (SIR), Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Industrial Estates (IE) have cumulative impacts on the environmental condition of the region. This paper intends to describe different practices of impact assessment and seeks to direct this debate towards the potential benefits of applying Regional EIA over the project specific EIA to capture the cumulative impact of large development projects like SIRs and IE on the environmental condition of the region and underline the challenges often faced during the study. Regional EIA is a new concept in India and the process of development of an SIR is different from the other industrial projects such as SEZ or IE. Unlike SEZ which comprises of only industrial activity, SIR also includes residential commercial and other amenities over an area of more than 100 square kilometers. Further, the implementation of Regional EIA in Indian context is also constrained by problem in baseline data collection and lack of exhaustive ecological and socioeconomic indicators for impact assessment and restricted use of state of art technologies such as Geographical Information System due to many factors such as cost involved and lack of awareness among consultants. The whole process of Regional EIA should be made rapid and more participatory.
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