Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Saturday that his ministry has brought down the time for environment project clearances to 190 days from 600 days that was the norm during the UPA regime for 10 years. He said that in only two years of the Modi government, his ministry has given approvals to 2,000 projects.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Javadekar said, “Earlier, for 10 years, the minister was known as the obstructionist minister, and the ministry known as blockade ministry and speed-breaker ministry. Now, we have changed the image of the ministry by ensuring that projects do not remain pending for years for want of environment clearances.”
Javadekar said that the environment ministry has taken a number of steps to ensure environment clearances are given without compromising on stringent pollution norms. “The delays have been down… This has been achieved by decentralising the process of giving clearances by setting 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 the ministry has also appointed a team of experts to assess the projects.
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“Therefore, we have been able to reduce the pending time to 190 days from 600 days which was the norm during the UPA regime. This will be further brought down to 100 days,” the minister said.
Javadekar said that all these have been made without compromising on pollution norms. “In fact, we have applied norms more stringently,” he said, adding that his ministry would soon come up with a booklet highlighting 50 projects across the country that remained pending for years. He cited big-ticket projects like Coastal Road, NH-7 widening and Mumbai-Goa highway widening, among others, in Maharashtra.
Javadekar also said that his ministry has been promoting the ‘forest land’ concept in 200 municipal corporations in the country. “We will provide them Rs 2 crore and the amount would be increased to Rs 4 crore to promote the concept of forest land within the jurisdiction of the municipal corporations,” he said.
About linking the Manjara river with Bhima river to ease water crisis in Marathwada, Javadekar said that his ministry will fast-track the proposal if it comes from the state government.