State Hopes for Green Light to Stalled Projects
With Prakash Javadekar sworn in as the minister of state with independent charge of information & broadcasting (I&B) and the environment & forests (MoEF) ministries, there’s hope in Maharashtra that the new minister will sort out the green issues and kickstart stalled projects. Also, with Javadekar’s ascension, Pune, one of the fastest-growing cities in Western India, has received a representation in the Union Cabinet after a gap of almost 20 years. Many public projects in Maharashtra such as the proposed coastal road and Metro III projects in Mumbai, the Metro project in Pune and the Navi Mumbai Airport are awaiting a clearance from MoEF. Besides them, a number of projects are stuck with the environment ministry. In the industrial city of Pune, development on the hills has become a thorny issue. According to some industry experts, over .` 1,00,000 crore worth of projects in Maharashtra are stuck due to environmental issues. “I have always believed that industrial growth and environment protection have to be balanced. In order to achieve economic growth, we have to support new projects and it can be done without endangering the environment,” Javadekar said while taking charge on Tuesday.
There's a lot of hope riding on Javadekar. “Pune is one of the biggest hubs of auto and information technology sectors, and industrial growth here is faster than any other city. Javadekar’s appointment will benefit industries in the city,” said the newly-elected BJP MP from Pune, Anil Shirole.
Even Lalit Kumar Jain, chairman of realtors apex body CREDAI, is positive about the future. “The approval of the environment ministry in areas where urban master plans have been already drawn is unnecessary, but still clearances have not come through. We expect many projects will take off once the new minister takes a look at the situation.”
About three months ago, when the elections took place for six Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra, Javadekar had to give up his seat to NDA’s ally RPI. There was talk of Javadekar being accommodated from either Madhya Pradesh or Gujarat, but that did not take place. In April, Narendra Modi sent him for talks with TDP in the South. He stayed back in Hyderabad for over two weeks and forged an alliance between the BJP and TDP. And he's being rewarded for that, said a senior BJP leader from Mumbai.