Ramesh favours middle ground to ensure growth,save environment

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New Delhi,Jan 29 (PTI) Facing heat from industrialistsfor delay in project clearance, Environment Minister JairamRamesh said he was in favour of a "middle ground" to ensurefaster economic growth and also maintain ecological balance.

"The key word in my vocabulary is balance- I have tofind the middle ground between faster economic growth andecological security," the Minister told Outlook magazine.

"I know environmentalists have attacked me for theCoastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011, which hasbeen hailed by the ''growth-wallahs''. On the other hand, theGDP constituency has attacked me for refusing clearances tocoal mines in rich forest areas which has been hailed by theenvironment types," he said.

Asked whether he had compromised on Vedanta andallowed the company to expand its refinery, Ramesh said, "OnVedanta, our position is that they violated the law inexpanding the refinery from 1 mtpa (million tonne from annum)to 6 mtpa. The position has not challenged. All that we havesaid is that Vedanta must apply afresh for environmentalclearance."

The Minister said the matter is now in the Orissa HighCourt since Vedanta has challenged the Ministry''s order.

Admitting that most Environment Impact Assessments(EIAs) are not upto the mark and favour corporates and notthose affected by various projects, Ramesh said he wasthinking of a new system, "whereby the Ministry has a rosterof consultants/firms/institutions (like the panel of auditors)and the Ministry will have the EIAs done." PTI TGB

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