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PMO push for big projects

To remove green hurdle from big-ticket projects, the Prime Minister’s Office has reportedly asked environment ministry not to stop projects where 50 per cent of the project cost has already been utilised on Friday.

delhi Updated: Aug 06, 2010 23:46 IST
Chetan Chauhan

To remove green hurdle from big-ticket projects, the Prime Minister’s Office has reportedly asked environment ministry not to stop projects where 50 per cent of the project cost has already been utilised on Friday.

This comes in wake of environment minister Jairam Ramesh imposing a moratorium on four projects in Andhra Pradesh on the grounds that the land, on which these projects were coming, were either on wetland or fell within the ambit of coastal zone regulations.

The ministry decision has created a huge furore with state Chief Minister K. Rosaiah writing to Prime Minister stating that the ministry’s decision could jeopardise projects worth 20,000 MW in the state.

Rosaiah had also stated that project proponents have made huge investments in the project following environment clearance given by the ministry.

Several MPs from the state had also briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on this issue following which his office is said to have asked the ministry not to block big-ticket projects.

The message was reportedly conveyed at meeting of officials from Coal, Power and Environment ministry on Friday. It follows the decision of an informal Group of Ministers to allow construction of a hydel project at Loharinag Pala in Uttarakhand, where National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) had made substantial investment.

“The PMO is involved, my ministry, environment ministry and Planning Commission is involved in finding a solution to the issue,” Coal Minister Sriprakash said on Friday.

Among other issues discussed was categorisation of go and no-go areas for coal mining. A government panel had suggested that “no-go” areas for mining should not cover more than 30 per cent of forestland.