Speedy nod to projects near China border

States concerned can grant clearances, says Javadekar

Speedy nod to projects near China border

Mindful of China,  the government has decided to speed up environmental clearances to defence infrastructure projects along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and will soon put in place a policy for “simpler, transparent and predictable” approvals.

Lamenting that several strategic projects are held up due to lack of green nod, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said states concerned can grant clearances and all the cases need not come to Delhi for approval.

The decision to ease the norms on green clearances was taken after senior defence ministry officials, led by its secretary R K Mathur, met Javadekar as several projects are held up for want of green nod.

“We will cut short the delays... We are evolving new ways of solutions to the existing problems of environment clearances, evolving policy-based solutions,” Javadekar said.

The 4,056-km-long LAC with China touches five states – Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh – and the defence ministry has initiated a number of projects to upgrade its border infrastructure to match that of China.

“Today (Thursday) we met with the defence ministry officials at their request because lot of their projects were held up and were getting delayed approval. The issue was how to ensure that there won’t be delay.

 The answer is policy-based decision,” Javadekar told reporters. “What we have decided today is a policy decision. This is faster...The defence projects undertaken within 100 km of the border and border roads can be given approvals without killing the environment. This is to avoid delays that occur and to make it easier,” the minister said.

“There will be a policy of ‘general approvals’ which means that approvals can be granted by the states concerned and all files need not come to the Centre,” he added.Later, he tweeted: “Delays in defence projects were due to case-by-case decision-making process. We’ll make policy decisions. Will put policies in place.”

In a series of tweets, the Minister said, “Instead of case-by-case delayed method of approval, we are making simpler, transparent and predictable process of approvals.” 

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