Union minister of state (independent charge) for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said his ministry has made clearances easy for industries. Around 700 online applications have been received from industries for environment and forest clearances and the status of these applications can be tracked by online, he said.
Javadekar said the environment ministry is considered more of a speedbreaker as it always hit the headlines whenever it restricted any project or development. He said he has tried to change the negative image by clearing several projects from various other ministries, including those from defence.
Since May, the ministry has introduced the online submission facility for applications for environment and forest clearances, delegated more power to state-level bodies that will deal with almost 90% of projects, removed roadblocks in the way of defence projects held up for environmental reasons, and also made it possible for so-called linear projects (like highways, transmission lines) to proceed with in-principle approval. Javadekar also said he had apprised Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar about construction of railway over-bridges and flyovers and road-widening works in Pune that require defence land and hoped the clearances will be expedited.
The minister said the Union government will be allocating Rs 33,000 crore of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority funds to state governments so that new forest areas can be created for a huge carbon sink. The necessary affidavit has been submitted to the Supreme Court and funds should start flowing soon. He was addressing a press conference in Pune, highlighting the completion of 230 days of BJP government at the centre.