New council to address industry concerns on environment: Jairam
Environment ministry will soon set up an advisory council having participation of industry to look into policy issues regarding environment clearances, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said today after meeting representatives of industry body Confederation of Indian Industry.delhi Updated: Jan 18, 2011 21:21 IST
Environment ministry will soon set up an advisory council having participation of industry to look into policy issues regarding environment clearances, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said on Tuesday after meeting representatives of industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Ramesh, however, made it clear that no individual projects will be discussed in the council, which will meet once in three months, and will examine suggestions on changes required in policy for faster environment and forest clearance.
All projects have to seek either environment and forest clearance or both from either state or the Central government depending on the project cost.
"The problem is with forest clearance," Ramesh admitted and said the ministry was looking at ways to deal with it.
Ramesh accepted an industry suggestion that government should seek all clearances before competitive bidding for projects. "The policy is already applicable for Ultra Mega Power Projects and can be expanded to mining sector," he said.
The minister also said that environment should not be considered only an industry issue but also of livelihood for tribals and its impact on public health. The ministry during budget session will bring amendment in the Indian Forest Act of 1927 to make it tribal friendly and make bamboo as non-timber minor forest produce so that forest dwellers can earn money from its sale.
The minister, who has been in news for action against Adarsh and Lavasa Corporation, said his ministry had not acted "suo motto" but on representations by civil society or affected people.
Hari S Bhartia of CII said that they were opposed to giving locals 26 % of the profit to locals in the new Mineral and Mines Development and Regulation Act. The bill has been cleared by a Group of Ministers and is to be considered by the Union Cabinet.