Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar Sunday said that his ministry has brought down the time for environment project clearances to 190 days from the 600 days which was the norm during the UPA regime for 10 years. In two years of the Modi government, Javadekar said, his ministry has given approvals to 2000 projects.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Javadekar said, “Earlier for 10 years, the Minister was known as the obstructionist minister, blockade ministry and speed-breaker ministry. Now, we have changed the image of the ministry by ensuring that projects do not remained pending for years for want of environment clearances,” he said.
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The Environment Ministry, he said, has taken a number of steps to ensure that environment clearances are given without compromising on stringent pollution norms. “The delays have been down…It has been achieved by decentralising the process of giving clearances by getting up 10 regional offices. We have standardised the process of giving clearances by making them more transparent. The process has been made online,” he said, adding that ministry has also appointed a team of experts to assess the projects. “Therefore, we have been able to reduce the pending from 600 days to 190 days which was the norm during UPA regime. This will be further brought down to 100 days,” he said.
All this, said Javadekar, has been made without compromising on pollution norms. “In fact, we have applied norms more stringently,” he said.
Javadekar said his ministry will soon come up with a booklet highlighting 50 projects across the country that remained pending for years. He cited the big-ticket projects like Coastal Road, NH 7 widening and Mumbai-Goa high widening, among others, in Maharashtra.
Javadekar also said that his ministry was promoting “forest land” concept in 200 municipal corporations in the country. “We will provide them Rs 2 crore and the amount will be increased to Rs 4 crore to promote the concept of forest land in the jurisdiction of the municipal corporations,” he said.
About linking of Manjara river with Bhima river to ease water crisis in Marathwada, Javadekar said his ministry will fast-track the proposal if it comes from the state government.