To encourage investment in the state amid the Covid pandemic, the Captain Amarinder Singh government in Punjab has announced a slew of relaxations for industry, including extension of validity of statutory clearances without inspection.Detailed guidelines to this effect have been issued by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), which finalised the relaxations, on the directives of the Chief Minister, at its 184th meeting. The move is aimed at further easing the process of obtaining statutory clearances in these difficult circumstances, said a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office, adding that the relaxations will help instill confidence among investors and encourage them to invest in the state during the current pandemic in a hassle-free manner.According to PPCB Chairman Prof. S.S. Marwaha, the Board has extended the validity of Consent to Establish/Operate, Authorization, Registration and any other mandatory regulatory clearances upto June 30, 2020, in view of the Covid crisis. The validity of the said clearances has also been further extended upto March 31, 2021, with certain stipulations on submission of application without conduct of any inspection by the Board.In order to ensure the participatory regulatory compliance of the environmental regulations, the industries which were operating without the consent of the Board have been given time upto December 31, 2020 to apply for obtaining clearances under the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS), said Prof Marwah. They can do so with exemption to deposit the consent fee prior to November 1, 2018 and payment of one-time notional fee of Rs. 5000.Further, in order to facilitate brick kilns to obtain consent under the Water Act, 1974, their owners have been given exemption from depositing the consent fees prior to November 1, 2018.Meanwhile, Principal Secretary, Science, Technology and Environment Alok Shekhar stated that these initiatives would immensely assist the industry in completing their regulatory compliances and will enhance the regulatory regime by the small scale industries during these trying circumstances.