Environment Ministry's image has changed now: Prakash Javadekar

Hyderabad, Sep 11: Observing that the first 100 days of Narendra Modi Government has created confidence in the country and abroad with its quick decision-making, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday said the image of MoEF has also changed from being a "speed-breaker ministry."

"A new confidence has come in the minds of domestic investors, foreign investors and the people of India. Because, Modi government has done good work," he told reporters.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) once used to be called as a "return of licence quota and permit raj," but decisions are taken quickly now and transparency and decentralisation have been brought in the system, he said.

"Meeting of National Board of Wild Life was held after 17 months. Many matters were pending. We took decisions on merit, with the consent of all. Three things happened by that. I met former prime minister Manmohan Singh on the same day.

"I said, sir, you have classified priority infrastructure projects. There were 17 such projects. But permission was not given for 17 months during their rule. I said we held a meeting and gave permission to the 17 projects. He congratulated me. The difference is that we have started taking decisions," Javadekar claimed.

Transparency is assured now with the process of online applications being introduced. "We started the process of online applications. More than 250 applications have come for forest and environment clearance. They are online and they can be tracked," he said.

Infrastructure projects involving over five hectares used to come to Delhi, leading to a pile up of files, but decentralisation has been done now by delegating powers to states, Javadekar said.

Now, decisions on projects involving upto 40 hectares would be taken in regional offices by taking state governments on board. However, there is no question of compromising on conservation of environment, he asserted.

"Our announcement is development without destruction. Development and environment protection hand in hand," he said.

Emission norms have been made stringent for cement industry and that compliance with conditions must happen, he asserted.

All linear projects, including irrigation canal systems, road and rail, transmission lines and pipelines, have been given more priority, he said. Wildlife is also being taken care of and more sanctuaries created, he added.


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