M Veerappa Moily rejigs panels to clear projects stuck in green web

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 8 2014, 18:28pm hrs
Vested with the Herculean task of fast-tracking decisions on scores of large projects, environment minister M Veerappa Moily has embarked on a drive to reassign jobs to the key officials in his ministry, reports Kirtika Suneja in

New Delhi. Moily has also reconstituted the various expert appraisal committees (EAC) of the ministry, besides shuffling the work allocated among officers.

According to official sources, in an order issued after he took charge on December 24, work allocation of at least six scientists was changed. A scientist who was earlier a part of the EAC for mining projects has been moved to the EAC on thermal power projects while another has been brought in from the ministrys Lucknow office to monitor the impact of non-coal mining in the impact assessment division.

As part of the reshuffle, Saroj, who goes by one name and was part of the EAC on non-coal mining and thermal power projects is now handling only thermal power projects, while T Chandini, who was earlier looking after climate change and sustainable development, has now been given the charge of industries in the impact assessment (IA) division. VP Upadhyay, who had earlier been posted to Lucknow, has been brought back to Delhi and assigned the work of non-coal mining in the IA division. Similarly, Ranjini Warrier, who was in charge of bio-safety and the genetic engineering appraisal committee (GEAC), will also handle the follow-up of the Shah commission report on mining, says the office order of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF).

These changes happened so suddenly and we had no idea of our work allocation getting changed, said an official whose portfolio was changed. In fact, the order came the very day Moily took charge and decided to exempt a slew of different types of industrial and mining projects from either providing environmental impact assessment reports or holding public hearings when they are approved

by the state government.

Similarly, KK Garg, director of the ministrys regional office in Lucknow, who was posted to Delhi and was part of the EAC on industries, has now been posted back to Lucknow.

Not only the ministry, but changes have been seen in the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)- a statutory body under the ministry- as well. J S Kamyotra who was member secretary of the board since 2008 has now been made a director.

My tenure as member secretary had ended and the order for the same came in the last week of December, Kamyotra said.

These much needed changes are coinciding with the ministers statement of maintaining the regulatory role of the ministry and speed up the process of granting environment and forest clearances besides approving the field trial of genetically modified crops.