Will you stop production of cars because they pollute? PC to Ramesh | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Will you stop production of cars because they pollute? PC to Ramesh

Will you stop production of automobiles because they pollute, is what Home Minister P Chidambaram asked Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh regarding his ministry’s go no-go policy on coal mining at a Group of Ministers meeting. Chetan Chauhan reports.

delhi Updated: Mar 15, 2011 23:27 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Will you stop production of automobiles because they pollute, is what Home Minister P Chidambaram asked Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh regarding his ministry’s go no-go policy on coal mining at a Group of Ministers meeting in February.

“Every day country was adding thousands of automobiles which definitely danger the environment. For this, we can take mitigation measures and not stop producing cars,” the Home Minister said.

The Home Minister made these comments while referring to Ramesh’s go-no go policy for coal areas and said the environment ministry’s approach on coal mining was hindering expansion of hydel and nuclear power capabilities. “We have to exploit coal on priority basis to make use of our hydel and nuclear capabilities,” he said.

As per the minutes of the GoM circulated this week, Chidambaram had an advise for Ramesh on a different approach to protect environment from adverse impact of coal mining.

“Ideal approach should be based on likely damage to the environment and it should be classified on three parameters,” he said. The parameters were irreversible damage to environment, reversible damage to environment and compensatory damage.

The go no-go policy is based on straight jacket approach that coal mining should be allowed only in non-dense forest areas, which were about 65% of the total coal bearing areas in 12 coal blocks studied for the policy.

Chidambaram was of the view that the environment ministry’s policy should be based on damage to environment and how it can be mitigated, instead of a blanket ban on coal mining.

Ramesh made it clear at the meeting that his ministry will not give “automatic” clearances to projects and he was willing to re-examine the go no-go policy after objections by other ministries. He also said that the Coal ministry had suggested the policy and not him, as being depicted, and now the same ministry was uncomfortable with it.

The minutes make Ramesh’s isolation at the GoM meeting apparent with most ministers protesting against the policy. The next meeting of the GoM is slated for March 25, when Ramesh is expected to make a presentation on all environmental issues.