State Hopes for Green Light to Stalled Projects

The Economic Times - - Ministers @ Work - RO­HIT CHANDAVARKAR

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.

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