Jairam Ramesh rubbishes charge of being anti-Maharashtra | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Jairam Ramesh rubbishes charge of being anti-Maharashtra

Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on Sunday rubbished criticism about him being "anti-Maharashtra" and against development.

mumbai Updated: Nov 28, 2010 19:48 IST

Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on Sunday rubbished criticism about him being "anti-Maharashtra" and against development.

Talking to reporters in Mumbai after giving a green signal to the Jaitapur Nuclear power plant, Ramesh said he was for sustainable development.

The minister said he had given the environmental clearance to the Jaitapur plant in 80 days from the day NPCIL submitted the final environment assessment report to his ministry.

"The Navi Mumbai airport clearance took 115 days from the time CIDCO submitted its assessment report. We had to do some hard negotiations with CIDCO. As per laws, my ministry has to clear any environmental clearance proposal in 105 days," he said.

According to the minister, 95 per cent of the projects which come to his ministry get environmental clearance while 85 per cent get forest clearance.

"Forest clearance takes time because we have to tread with lot of caution," he said.

Ramesh said Jaitapur plant falls in Konkan region where the districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg situated in the western ghats are ecologically sensitive.

"The only forest cover in Maharashtra is in this region and then in the eastern Vidarbha belt. We have to strike a balance when power projects have to be sanctioned here," he added.

Ramesh described the green signal to Jaitapur as a historic day. "Forty years ago, the first nuclear power plant on commercial scale was started in Tarapore in Maharashtra. This will be a significant step forward in the giant leap in nuclear power programme," he added.