Jairam allays industry's environmental concerns

Need for competitive bidding in awarding contracts in natural resources


Neha Sethi | January 18, 2011

Allaying concerns of industry over environment and forest clearances, environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said that industry shouldn’t think of environment as a barrier to faster economic growth. While speaking at a conference organised by the confederation of Indian industry (CII) in New Delhi, Ramesh said that this was the first time he was meeting an industry association formally.

Hari S Bhartia, president, CII, said that there was a need for competitive bidding in awarding contracts in natural resources. The minister said that competitive bidding should be in the system of allocation. “Before putting projects for PPP (public private partnership), get approvals,” Ramesh added.

Ramesh said that most of the problems that the Indian industry has are in relation to forest clearances and mining. He said that he was trying to address concerns, fears, anxiety (of industry) that environment is a barrier to development. “Industry had to share fears and concerns about impact of environmental laws on development,” the minister added.

Talking about the weaknesses of the ministry, Ramesh said, “We don’t have capacity in the central pollution control board and the state pollution control boards, we have a big institutional weakness.”

The minister added that industry’s concern is not with environmental clearance but forest clearance. “While forest clearances take years, environmental clearances take only months,” he added. The industry wants that we should a law, have timelines, and should adhere to those timelines, Ramesh said. 

“(We should) certainly encourage people from the industry to whistle blow,” he said.



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