Moily clears 70 pending projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore

moilyNEW DELHI : Keeping in view the 2014 general elections, Environment minister Veerappa Moily has cleared over 70 projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the past three weeks. The UPA government’s high priority atomic power project, whose foundation was laid on Monday at Gorakhpur village in Fatehabad district of Haryana by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also got the mandatory environment clearance.
Moily went by the view of the locals and accepted the Forest Advisory Committee’s recommendation on Vedanta project despite Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s opposition.
In case of Posco, Moily delinked the $13 billion steel plant and its port and gave approval only to the plant with a condition that 5% of the project cost would be spent on social welfare. The company said it would mean an additional investment of $600 million.
Posco had to wait for nearly eight years to get the necessary green nod for the project. Moily said the approval was granted a week ago. The decision comes days before South Korean president Park Geun-hye is to begin a four-day visit to India on January 15.
The minister had given clearance to around a dozen projects, including a couple of hydel projects in ecologically fragile north eastern India since he was given additional charge even as the ministry sought comments on a new regulation to improve verification and monitoring regime for projects seeking forest clearance.
The others which got environmental clearance under Moily include two coal mining projects – one of Central Coalfields Limited in Jharkhand and the other of Western Coalfields Limited in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh.
A long-pending key infrastructure project of Kerala – Vizhinjam International Container Transshipment Terminal at Trivandrum – also got environmental clearance under Moily.

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