Ministry forced to overlook green norms, admits Ramesh

In an uncharacteristic candid confession, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh admitted that many times he had been forced to regularise the illegality and violation of green norms.

“Regularisation of illegality is a peculiar Indian characteristic. First you make the law and then break it,” he said at a conference here on Friday.

The minister said he was totally against “regularising illegality” but regretted he had to make compromises in cases relating to violation of green norms. “There are some occasions that I have not compromised. In some occasions I had to compromise,” he said.

“Unfortunately many times I am forced to regularise. Because I have no option because one refinery has been built, steel plant is built.

 I am guilty in some cases of having actually condone many environmental violations,” Ramesh said.

Incidentally, Ramesh’s candid confession came on the same day he permitted constructions on a large dam in Madhya Pradesh presumably under political pressure.

On Posco issue

The minister also made a U-turn on Posco issue and speculations are rife on what stand he would take in Vedanta and Adarsh housing society issues. Jairam Ramesh said his decision to order demolition of Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai was to “send a signal” to the people who violate laws.

The skyscraper was built in violation of coastal regulatory norms.

“In the case of Adarsh, matter is in the court and I don’t want to say anything more. But my decision was very clear.

“The only option before me was to recommend complete demolition of Adarsh. Signal has to go to the people who violate law that violation of law will not be tolerated,” the minister said.

Talking about the practice of construction of ports, cement factories and power plants in violation of laws, the minister said in such cases “huge expenditure has been incurred” and “one has to be practical” while taking action.

Ramesh is also under pressure to allow coal mining in large tracts of forests.

The Union environment minister held on to his ground on coal mining and locked horns with chief ministers, Cabinet ministers and Planning Commission.

A group of ministers has now been formed to resolve the issue.

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