1,300 infra proposals get green nod

1,300 infra proposals get green nod

993 are from government agencies

Stung by frequent criticism of being a spoilsport in the growth of infrastructure development, the Union Environment Ministry on Friday claimed that it accorded green clearance to more than 1,300 proposals on infrastructure projects in the last one year.

While 209 projects received environmental approvals, the ministry gave forest clearance to 1,126 proposals involving diversion of 15,639 ha of forest land.

Out of 209 projects which received environmental clearance, 88 projects are in the industry sector (66 steel and 22 cement), 29 in the thermal power, six in the river valley and hydro-electric, 29 coal mining, 25 non-coal mining and 32 national highways, the ministry said in a note.

The forest approvals were given in the area of defence, drinking water, hydro power, irrigation, mining, railway, rehabilitation, road, school, thermal power plants, transmission lines, village electricity and wind energy.

Land diversion

In fact, the total forest land diverted during the last one year period is 44 per cent of the average annual rate of diversion (35,775 ha every year) in the last 32 years of the existence of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

As many as 993 proposals seeking forest clearance are from government agencies while 133 applications were from the private industry.

The disclosure comes at a time when the environment ministry is seen at the receiving end of a sustained criticism by the industry lobby.

They claim that the delay in receiving green clearance on various projects stagnates infrastructure growth.

Recently Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram proposed a National Investment Board for approving critical infrastructure projects bypassing the normal route. The proposal attracted strong criticism from Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan and Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishor Chandra Deo.

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