After putting nearly 400-odd proposals on hold for two months by staying meetings of three green panels set up under the ministry of environment and forests to review mega projects in Maharashtra, environment minister Ramdas Kadam, who received a rap on the knuckles from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, has now asked the committees to meet in the first week of July.
It is learnt that the decision comes after Kadam was asked not to create hurdles in the functioning of the committees, as it was outside his purview and went against the industry-friendly image of the government.
However, the department will have to put up the agenda of the meetings before the minister and he is entitled to make certain recommendations in order to consider projects of public interest on a priority basis.
The three expert appraisal committees that grant environmental nod to mega projects, including construction and industrial projects, have not met for almost two months.
While the state expert appraisal committee (SEAC MMR) clears realty projects in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, SEAC (non-MMR) clears construction projects outside the limits, and the third SEAC considers industrial and mining projects. SEAC (industrial) met at least twice in June, but the agendas for the other two committees was being held up by the minister.
There are nearly 350 projects pending before the MMR committee and 50 before the committee that appraises industrial projects.
The apex state environment impact assessment authority (SEIAA), which grants the final nod to projects largely on the basis of the recommendations made by the experts, had also not met for the past two months.
With projects worth thousands of crores coming up before the appraisal committees, officials said it was obvious why the minister wanted to exert his influence.
It is learnt that certain developers had complained to Fadnavis about the stalled meetings, questioning him on the state’s Make in Maharashtra and Ease of Doing Business initiatives.