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We ensured transparency, speed in environment clearances: Javadekar

Posted on Sep 02 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Sep 2 : Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar Tuesday said his ministry has ensured greater transparency and speed in decision-making by initiating online submission of applications for environment and forest clearances.

Briefing reporters on the work done by his ministry during its 100 days so far, Javadekar said he had sought to change his ministry's perception as a "no go ministry", and the decisions taken were based on a policy framework.

"We have a thinner, transparent mechanism with no discrimination. As a major step to see that proposals for forest clearance were processed in a time-bound manner, a web portal for online filing and monitoring applications has been launched," he said.

The minister said that online submission for terms of reference (ToRs) and environment clearance has been mandated from July 1 to increase transparency.

"Till now, 219 applications for ToRs and 46 applications for ECs have been received in the ministry," he said.

With China ramping up its border infrastructure, Javadekar said that border roads and all defence infrastructure within 100 km of Line of Actual Control had been brought under the "general approval scheme" for speedy creation of infrastructure.

He said the ministry has also extended general approval for diversion of forest land for public roads (except in protected areas) to expedite creation of infrastructure in districts affected by Maoist violence.

The minister said a system for real-time monitoring of Ganga water quality had been initiated and polluting industries had been asked to install continuous emission and effluent monitoring systems.

He said measures have been taken for environment protection, forest protection and for preserving bio-diversity.

"India has eight percent of world's biodiversity though it has about 2.5 percent of land area," Javadekar said.

Speaking of the government's initiatives in checking pollution, Javadekar added that his ministry has upgraded pollution norms for the cement industry.

He said the processes for clearances had been simplified for "linear projects" like pipelines, roads, rail and canals passing through jungles.

He said the ministry had proposed to give 90 percent of Rs.35,000 crore accumulated with the adhoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to states.

Javadekar said the process of granting permission for forest diversion upto 40 hectares for development projects had been decentralised and "90 percent of files for the purpose will not come to the ministry."

He said steps also had been taken for decentralising powers to state-level environment impact assessment authorities for granting environment clearance.

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