Green clearance not a 'bottleneck' for projects: Natarajan

Natrajan

Dispelling a notion that green clearances delay infrastructure projects, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan today said her Ministry is not a

"bottleneck" but a partner in the development process.

She also said the environment protection in an important part of that partnership.

Noting that her department has already cleared various infrastructure and mining projects, Natarajan said, "We are a partner in development of this country and we consider that preserving and protecting environment is an important part of

that partnership, but it (her Ministry) is not a roadblock."

She said that only nine per cent of infrastructure projects, involving an area of over 40 hectares, come to her.

"My object in giving all the details is to show that there is no delay in terms of processing. There is no bottleneck in this Ministry and all projects that can be cleared have been cleared and we are not a bottleneck by any stretch of imagination," Natarajan said.

In last one-and-a-half years, the Ministry has given in- principle approval to 754 projects involving 18,204 hectares of land. 74 proposals, seeking diversion of 1,554 hectares of forest land, were rejected by it.

The department is also looking at ways to hasten the process of environment clearance, without compromising on the principles.

"We have a new environment circular by which upto 25 per cent of expansion can be applied for without going through the usual route. Everyday we are examining new areas by which we can streamline the process further without compromising the

quality of environment appraisal," Natarajan said.

The Ministry is also keeping in mind the importance of critical infrastructure projects involving power transmission lines, pipelines and roads and development of areas affected by Naxalism, she said

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