Ensure compliance to green laws, not environmental clearances: Ramesh

Notwithstanding India's need for "smart" environmental regulation, the government is working against the nation's interest by wrecking the very edifice of green laws, former environment minister Jairam Ramesh said on Friday.

IANS| Updated: Mar 28, 2015, 00:11 AM IST
Ensure compliance to green laws, not environmental clearances: Ramesh

New Delhi: Notwithstanding India's need for "smart" environmental regulation, the government is working against the nation's interest by wrecking the very edifice of green laws, former environment minister Jairam Ramesh said on Friday.

"India needs smart environmental regulations that are transparently enforced. But the way this government is going about environmental regulation, they are dismantling the edifice of environmental regulation. That's not in the national interest," Ramesh told IANS.

Earlier, speaking at a panel discussion on his book "Green Signals: Ecology, Growth, And Democracy in India", he said: "We are endangering the ecological security in the name of ease of doing business. One has to keep that balance... It's not the clearance issue but a compliance issue that we need to worry about."

In his book, he warns India against following the Chinese model of development based on "traditional grow now, pay later" policy and offers solutions to manage the complexities and conflicts that arise in the process of integrating environment with development.

Keeping the debate alive on Bt-Brinjal, the book also discusses controversial bigticket projects like the POSCO steel plant, Vedanta's mining plan for Niyamgiri, the Jaitapur nuclear power plant as well as the construction of a new international airport in Navi Mumbai that were never shown a green signal during his term as the minister for environment and forest

Recounting the tough decisions he made during the UPA-II regime, which earned him the label of "Green Terror" for declining to clear development projects found in violation of green laws, Ramesh said: "Environment is not a technocratic issue; it's a public welfare issue."

"It's a sad day that the present ministry for environment has become the ministry for environmental clearances," he added.