Strike balance between environment, development: Jairam

There is a need to strike a balance between environment and development, says Jairam Ramesh.

Mumbai: Union Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said that opposing projects like the Jaitapur nuclear power project was a "height of foolish romance".
Ramesh said that there was a need to strike a balance between environment concerns and development.

"Environmentalists are against hydel energy because there is no sufficient water. They oppose nuclear power because it is hazardous and are against coal-based power since it is dirty. We are a nation of 1.2-billion. To think that we can meet the need from biogas, solar and wind power, then it is a height of foolish romance," Ramesh said.

He felt that there were certain realities, which need to be understood.

"Yes we will give environment the highest priority... but we have to be realistic about what we need. We must have commercial energy (for development)," he said.

By 2020, the Government has set a target of 20,000 MW of solar energy, Ramesh said, adding that there are 8000 MW of wind power projects and similarly solar power projects.

"But what we need to understand is that without more nuclear power, without more hydel power and without more coal-based power, we will not able to grow. We will not be able to grow employment. We need a balance (between environment and development," he said.

He said that while clearing Jaitapur and Navi Mumbai airport project, the Government has found the middle path.

"Middle path never pleases either of the sides, but it is the only path we can follow," he added.