Jairam Ramesh rubbishes charge of being anti-Maharashtra

Ramesh on Sunday rubbished the criticism that he was "anti-Maharashtra" and against development, saying he favoured sustainable development.

Last Updated: Nov 28, 2010, 21:19 PM IST

Mumbai: Union Minister for Environment and
Forests Jairam Ramesh on Sunday rubbished the criticism that he
was "anti-Maharashtra" and against development, saying he
favoured sustainable development.

"The criticism about me (of being anti-Maharashtra and
against development) is not true," he said reacting to remarks
in a section of media following delayed clearance to the Navi
Mumbai airport.

Talking to reporters here after giving a green signal to
the Jaitapur nuclear power plant, Ramesh said he had given the
environmental clearance to the plant in 80 days from the day
the NPCIL submitted the final environment assessment report to
his ministry.

"The Navi Mumbai airport clearance took 115 days from
the time CIDCO submitted its assessment report. We had to do
some hard negotiations with CIDCO. As per laws, my ministry
has to clear any environmental clearance proposal in 105
days," he said.

According to the minister, 95 percent of the projects
which come to his ministry get environmental clearance while
85 percent get forest clearance.

"Forest clearance takes time because we have to tread
with lot of caution," he said.

Ramesh said Jaitapur plant falls in Konkan region where
the districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg situated in the
western ghats are ecologically sensitive.

"The only forest cover in Maharashtra is in this region
and then in the eastern Vidarbha belt. We have to strike a
balance when power projects have to be sanctioned here," he
added.

Ramesh described the green signal to Jaitapur as a
historic day. "Forty years ago, the first nuclear power plant
on commercial scale was started in Tarapore in Maharashtra.
This will be a significant step forward in the giant leap in
nuclear power programme," he added.

PTI