Union Environment Minister M Veerappa Moily cleared 26 big ticket projects worth Rs 2 lakh crore since he took charge in December last year. At least 12 of these belong to big industrial houses such as Adani Group, Aditya Birla’s Hindalco Industries, Essar, Jindal India Thermal Power Ltd (JITPL), and South Korean major Posco.
Taking over from his predecessor Jayanthi Natarajan, who apparently lost her job for delaying green clearances to important infrastructure projects, Moily seems to have gone on a project clearance spree and ensured big projects are not delayed for want of green clearances.
According to the latest data provided by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to the Project Monitoring Group (PMG) set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to streamline green clearances, a total of 26 big projects worth Rs 204,552 crores have been cleared.
Critical projects include two Adani Power Limited projects in Rajasthan and Maharashtra worth Rs 7,020 crore and Rs 6,560 crore respectively, Essar and Hindalco’s Mahan Aluminum project in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh, worth Rs 10,500 crore and the South Korean Steel major Posco’s steel plant in Odisha worth Rs 52,813 crore.
IOCL Paradip Refinery Project worth Rs 29,777 crore, Essar Steel Plant worth Rs 22,587 crore in Odisha, Jindal’s 2X600 MW Tamnar Power Plant in Chhattisgarh worth Rs 13,600 crore, Vedanta Aluminium mining project in Odisha worth Rs 4,840 crore and Tawang-II hydroelectric worth Rs 7,509 crore are other projects that were stuck for quite some time for the want of environment and forest clearances.
PMG sources said a large number of projects, which were stuck with the MoEF for no valid reasons, have also been cleared by Moily, thus bringing a sigh of relief to the industry.
“Although issues related to green clearances by the environment ministry top our list, their number have gone down drastically and it will reduce further in coming days. In many projects, the clearances were granted by the environment/forest appraisal committees but the ministers’ accord was awaited while in others, state governments failed to respond,” official sources said.