Facing criticism for holding up several mining projects, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday favoured a competitive bidding process and environmental pre-approval before mining projects are awarded.
The proposal came up before the minister during a meeting with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) on Tuesday.
"We must follow the competitive bidding process followed in oil and gas structure. In projects related to ore mining, environmental pre-approval should be sought by the state before the bidding is awarded to any company," Ramesh told reporters after the meeting.
The minister said a similar kind of approach is being followed in the Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) coming up in Orissa.
"It will be better that when the project is awarded to a company, there will be no issue related to environmental clearance," he said.
Ramesh has been holding meetings with the industry to allay fears that environment is acting as a hindrance to growth. He will be meeting the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)on January 24.
He also announced a Joint Advisory Council, with members from the ministry and industry, which will meet once a month to know the views of the industry.
"Industry must act as a whistleblower and should bring to notice cases where they have been pressurised from the ministry to settle the matter," Ramesh said.
Several iron and bauxite mining projects have been held up in various states by the environment ministry on grounds of violation of environment norms.