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India’s Environment Ministry bows to King Coal – Allows Mining in “No-Go” Forested Areas

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India’s Environment Ministry Jairam Ramesh has been portrayed as the devil incarnate by the industrial lobbies as he has struck down various billion dollar realty, mining and power projects.First it was Vedanta’s mining project in Orissa,then the Lavasa township in Pune and then power projects in Andhra Pradesh.While some of these infrastructure projects should go ahead with modifications,it has brought some regard for the environment.While some of the projects like the Jaitapur Nuclear Plant in Maharashtra were given the environmental go-ahead despite serious concerns raised by TISS and local citizens,the trampling of ecology by the corporate lobbies seems to have been curtailed.However India’s growing economy and its massive energy needs cannot be kept at bay for long.

Coal India which is India’s largest and almost monopoly coal miner reported a much lower than expected growth in the current quarter.With a large number of thermal plants going onstream,India’s coal demand has surged leading to massive imports.The drop in production has been attributed to the “no-go” areas which prohibits mining on forested land.This has been a huge bone of contention between the power and environment ministries.Finally with India’s industrial production slowing down,the environment ministry has had to bend down.16 areas where coal mining was prohibited due to forests has been again been given to the coal company.Note this was sort of inevitable as India follows the same breakneck growth model of others.China has destroyed large parts of its ecology in the pursuit of growth.The presence of toxic lakes,cadmium laden rice are all examples of the win of the growth vs environment.India with its democracy is better positioned to allow a balance between the two.However,the recent backtracking in the coal and the nuclear plant cases makes you think that growth is winning here as well.

Jairam Ramesh gives go-ahead to sixteen coal projects

Ahead of a meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on the coal issue on Friday, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has agreed to clear sixteen coal projects that have been stuck for a year now.Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told NDTV that he had a fruitful meeting with Jairam Ramesh who has agreed to relax pollution norms slightly, thus allowing sixteen projects of the state-owned Coal India Limited to go ahead.The softening of stand over the coal projects preceded months of confrontation between the environment and the coal ministries with Jairam clearly demarcating go and no-go areas for coal projects.


Abhishek Shah

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. suresh chopane,chandrapur

    india is facing the deforestation problem.thousands hectors of forest is being cut every year,wildlife is wandering for homes.we are facing climate change problem,pollution problem,but govt is only thinking for power and is under pressure of coal lobby.we need power it is true,but not at the cost of forest,wild life and environment.Is development dearer than death ?.. ramesh.j. is doing well. but he must do the best ……..suresh chopane,president- green planet society,chandrapur