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Thread: Environment minister Veerappa Moily okays Rs 19,000 crore projects in a week

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    Default Environment minister Veerappa Moily okays Rs 19,000 crore projects in a week

    NEW DELHI: Environment and forests minister M Veerappa Moily cleared six long-stalled infrastructure projects worth Rs 19,000 crore in the first eight days of 2014, signalling his intent that crucial industry projects will not be delayed for want of a green nod.

    The projects, which were earlier referred to the prime minister-led Cabinet Committee on Investments, include two power projects with over 2,100 MW capacity, two coal mines, a port in Andhra Pradesh and a crude oil pipeline ..

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    Default 70 projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore okayed after Natarajanís exit from MoEF

    70 projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore okayed after Natarajanís exit from MoEF
    Jan 14, 2014, 01.27 AM IST

    NEW DELHI: Ex-environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan may have dismissed speculation that delay in green clearances for several high-value projects led to her ouster, but environment nods to over 70 projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the past three weeks after her exit contradict her contentions.

    The projects cleared after she left the ministry shows that even the UPA government's high priority atomic power project, whose foundation was laid on Monday at Gorakhpur village in Fatehabad district of Haryana by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, got mandatory environment clearance only after her exit.

    The nuclear power project of 2,800 mw, which got the government's in-principle approval in October 2009, get environment clearance only on December 27, 2013 - six days after Natarajan's exit.

    The clearance had been pending for long, stretching back to her predecessor Jairam Ramesh's tenure. In the meantime, the project cost was revised from Rs 14,500 crore to Rs 23,502 crore.

    Interestingly, the ministry took years to clear this public sector project despite the fact that there was no complication involved in terms of green concerns. "No forestland is involved in the project. No national park, wildlife sanctuary, elephant/tiger reserve or migratory birds' routes are present within 10-km radius of the site," the order clearing the project said.

    The number of projects which got clearance under new environment minister M Veerappa Moily include a public sector thermal power plant in Natarajan's home state of Tamil Nadu.

    Moily on January 7 cleared this 2x800 mw power plant of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. The project will be commissioned at Vayalur village in Ponneri taluk in Thiruvallur district.

    Orders giving district to both these projects show that all necessary steps were completed during Natarajan's tenure. But the projects got final clearance only when Moily took charge of the ministry.

    The projects which got district in the past three weeks include South Korean giant Posco's $12 billion steel plant in Odisha. Posco had to wait for nearly eight years to get the necessary green nod for the project.

    The others which got environmental clearance under Moily include two coal mining projects - one of Central Coalfields Limited in Jharkhand and the other of Western Coalfields Limited in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh.

    A long-pending key infrastructure project of Kerala - Vizhinjam International Container Transshipment Terminal at Trivandrum - also got environmental clearance under Moily.
    Mrudul Godbole

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    Well the flood gates are now open. UPA is in dumps. Everybody believes that the congress party will lose. The industry chiefs used economic slowdown to attack the MoEF saying that lack of project clearances by MoEF is hitting the economy. Unfortunately the MoEF has cleared projects without looking at the impact of the projects. The congress party is throwing away everything in a desperate move.

    In case of the Posco project, the gram sabha's have already rejected it. Without clearance from the NGT, it is surprising that the MoEF under Veerappa Moily has decided to give it the go ahead. I am not sure if it would stand the legal challenge that would surely follow.

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