'Defence projects to get priority environment nod'

  • IANS, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 09, 2014 18:11 IST

The government will focus on expediting environment clearances for pending projects and top priority will be given to defence-related projects, environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said in New Delhi.

Javadekar, while interacting with women journalists at Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC), said the ministry will focus on balancing the wellbeing of people and the environment.

"We have been meeting officials to look into the pending projects for environment clearance, and pending defence matters will be given priority," Javadekar said.

The minister said among the projects to be granted clearance is an "ambitious strategic project" for securing Mumbai's coast line, and several coast guard stations along the Indian coast.

The minister also said the government is now looking into giving clearance to a project about setting up a radar station at the Narcondam Island in the Andaman and Nicobar chain of islands.

"There is an island called the Coco Island in the Bay of Bengal which is under Myanmar. However, China has its presence on that island. There is a project pending to set up a radar on Narcondam Island, which is just opposite to the Coco Island. We are looking into the project," said Javadekar.

A tiny remote island in the Andaman and Nicobar Island group, Narcondam is home to about 300 Narcondam hornbill, a rare bird found nowhere else in the world. Environmentalists have advocated not giving clearance to the project to protect the bird.

The Indian Coast Guard has proposed to build the radar station and a diesel power generation unit on the island.

The minister also said that post July 1, all applications for environmental clearances will be filed online, and the developments could be tracked online.

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