Natarajan insists she wasn't removed, rejects delay complaints

Natarajan insists she wasn't removed, rejects delay complaints

Jayanthi Natarajan today dismissed reports that she was removed as Environment Minister because she held up clearances to projects and insisted that she resigned on her own.

"No projects have been put on hold. No projects at all .... I quit the government 100 per cent for party work. No other reasons. The prime minister has appreciated my work," the Rajya Sabha MP said.

Defending the decisions taken during her tenure, she dismissed complaints from the industry of delay in granting environment clearances but admitted that she was apprehensive about dam and hydro-electric power projects in the wake of Uttarakhand tragedy.

Natarajan said there are "legitimate environmental concerns" and such projects need a very careful appraisal.

"Only 8 per cent projects come to the MoEF. 92 per cent of the projects are cleared by states. Nothing comes to me. There are no pending projects," Natarajan told PTI, rejecting reports that she had to quit the ministry because of putting on hold industrial projects.

Regarding big ticket projects, she said in infrastructure like dams and hydro-power "all aspects have to be considered carefully after the tragedy in Uttarakhand. Therefore, we have to appraise the project very carefully if it involves thousands of acres of forest land."

"These are legitimate environmental concerns and we were apprehensive on the basis of Uttarakhand. I have offered voluntarily to work for the party and no pendency at all.

"All proceedings are on the website... they are very transparent," she added. Natarajan, a senior member of Rajya Sabha in her third term, hails from Tamil Nadu and was brought into the ministry two years ago. Rahul Gandhi had yesterday shared concerns of the industry over delay in green clearances during a FICCI event.

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