Navi Mumbai airport: Ball not in Centre`s court, says Ramesh

Last Updated: Saturday, March 6, 2010 - 18:54

Mumbai: Environmental clearance to the Navi
Mumbai International Airport is not pending with the Centre,
Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh
said here on Saturday.

"The ball is not in the Central Government`s court," he
told reporters on the sidelines of a state-level meet on
climate change.
The City and Industrial Development Corporation of
Maharashtra Limited (CIDCO), had in 2009 sought Terms of
Reference (ToR) under the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)
Notification for establishment of the Airport, he said.

The project was appraised by the Expert Appraisal
Committee (EAC) and the Committee finalised ToR and additional
ToRs for carrying out the EIA Studies.

"On February 8 this year, we communicated to CIDCO that
it should submit the Environment Impact Assessment Studies as
per the additional ToRs," he said.

On the power projects in coastal districts of the state,
he said the Maharashtra Government has been asked to study the
carrying capacity of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts where
the power projects, with a total generation capacity of over
35,000 MW, are planned.

Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research
Institute could be roped in to undertake the study in the
Konkan region, Ramesh said.
The government plans to make the state load-shedding free
in the next three years but has met with stiff opposition from
the agitating green lobby, protesting against the development
of these power projects.

"If the state government asks us, the Centre will impose
curbs on new mining projects in the two districts," Ramesh
said.

Maharashtra forest cadre very badly managed: Ramesh

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh
today ticked off Maharashtra Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam,
saying the state forest department cadre was very badly
managed.

"Maharashtra forest department cadre has been very
badly managed over the last 15 to 20 years," Ramesh said,
addressing a state level meet on climate change.

Kadam, who along with Rural Development minister
Jayant Patil was present, was seen squirming as the minister
made those remarks. Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule organised
the programme.

The Finance Commission has given Rs 5,000 crore grant
for forestry work to states and Maharashtra`s share is Rs 350
crore, the minister said. "This is a lot of money for a
department that starts at 11 am and ends at 11.30 am," Ramesh
said.

"The forest department should have an independent
opinion. They can`t be told," he said, adding "what it (forest
department) has been starved of is real leadership."

Funds allocated for pollution control work in Sangli
district, from where Kadam and Patil hail, have not yielded
result, he said.

"Rs 900 crore have been spent on Ganga over last 20
years. But the river is as polluted today as it was then," the
minister said.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 6, 2010 - 18:54

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