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'Will end ambiguity in green clearance policy'

delhi Updated: Jul 17, 2011 23:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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In an indirect attack on former environment minister Jairam Ramesh, the new in charge of the ministry Jayanthi Natarajan has said there will be no change in policy once it is formulated.

"That will be my major endeavour. That will happen in future. As far as I am concerned, I will make sure that there will be no confusion and complete clarity," Natarajan told a television news channel.

Without referring to Ramesh's decision to clear coal blocks even in the 'no go' areas in the forests, she said, "In the past, perhaps there was something that came up later that necessitated the change." Ramesh had come up with go no go policy for coal mining in forest areas but had to allow some coal blocks citing pressure.

"The past is over. Now, I will ensure that complete clarity on this issue," she added. The minister was reacting to a wholly of questions on the Environment Ministry's uncertainty in clearing big projects like Posco, Vedanta and Lavasa.

Natarajan, however, hailed Ramesh, saying her predecessor did "an absolutely spectacular job" in mainstreaming environmental concerns.

In the same vein, she assured of striking a balance between economic growth and ecological protection. “I think, certainly there should be some sort of one window clearance and there should complete clarity," the 57 year-old lawyer said.

Dismissing the perception that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appointed her as a result of a compromise to appease corporate India, Natarajan said, "My actions will show that there can be no compromise on either issue that I will always act for the best welfare of the country.

"I will act according to the conscience of an environment minister. I think it is very unfair to say that the prime minister gave into compulsion."

Stating that she was not under pressure to move fast on projects like Vedanta, Posco and Lavasa, she said she would judge them on their merits and was not worried that her decisions could create serious opposition from one side or the other.

"There is no real growth unless the environment is taken into consideration," the minister said.

Observing that environment was never the reason why there was a slowdown in growth and will not be in the future, Natarajan said, "I will do everything I can to protect the environment and facilitate growth."