To fast-track industrial activities, the government has granted environmental clearance to 190 projects worth an estimated Rs 6.31 lakh crore across sectors like mining and steel during the June-December 2014.
The focus on faster clearances follows concerns raised by the industry that such approvals were hard to come by during the previous UPA regime at the Centre, thus creating bottlenecks for large industrial projects.
A highly placed source said the projects that have been granted approvals belong to both public and private sector companies and the grants are subject to “mitigation measures”.
“Environment clearances have been given for 190-odd projects worth Rs 6.31 lakh crore during the June-December period of 2014,” he said.
Of the total projects, the Environment Ministry has cleared 37 non-coal mining projects worth Rs 4.49 lakh crore, 48 infrastructure projects worth Rs 95,000 crore and 69 industrial projects worth Rs 40,600 crore in the said period.
That apart, environment clearances have been given to 10 thermal projects worth Rs 38,000 crore and 23 coal mining projects worth Rs 8,900 crore, one river valley project worth Rs 238 crore since the government came to power on May 26.
According to the source, green nods have been given to companies like India Cements and Ultratech Cement for cement projects, ONGC and Cairn India for petroleum drilling projects and Rungta Mines for a steel project.
In case of coal mining projects, all 23 projects approved belong to Coal India and its subsidiaries and are expected to generate 15 million tonnes of coal.
In non-coal mining category, environmental clearances have been given to iron ore projects located in Odisha belonging to companies like Sirajuddin and Rungta.
The government has started an online system for getting green nod and a web portal for submission and monitoring of forest clearance proposals among others to fasttrack clearances of green projects.
A major controversy erupted last week following claims made by the former Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan that she was forced to hold back clearances at the behest of top Congress leaders during her tenure in the UPA government.
Following her disclosure, the current government has said it would take a fresh look at environmental clearances for projects granted or rejected by the previous UPA government.