Transparency in environmental clearance: Ramesh
Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environmental and Forests (Independent charge) has said that transparency in environmental planning and management is the top priority of the ministry. He also informed that the resignation of P Abraham, IAS (rted), as chairman of the Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley and Hydroelectric project of the ministry of Environment and Forests has been accepted.
In the last few weeks, a number of NGOs had protested that Shri Abraham also serves on the boards of a number power companies which have interests in hydro-power, the minister added. The minister said that Abraham has not misused his position in any way.
The minister also announced that in the grant environmental clearances, there will be four conditions to be stipulated –(i) that an annual environmental statement as mandated under Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 will be made public by the project proponent; (ii) copy of the clearance letter will be made public by the project proponent; (iii) the status of compliance of the stipulated environmental clearance conditions including results of monitored data to be made public by the project proponent; (iv) six-monthly reports on the status compliance of the stipulated environmental clearance conditions including results of monitored data to be made public by the project proponent.
Criticising the tendency of project promoters- both in the public sector and private sectors- to have foundation stones laid for projects even before environmental and forests clearance are obtained, Ramesh said this tendency to treat environmental and forests clearances as a mere formality will no longer be acceptable.