Regulator for green appraisals soon: PM (Lead)

July 24th, 2011 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The government hopes to soon appoint a regulator to change the process of granting environmental clearances, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Sunday and pointed to steps taken by the United Progressive Alliance towards a low carbon growth path for the country.

Speaking at the valedictory function of a seminar on “Global Environment and Disaster Management: Law and Society” here, the prime minister said the government had a target of greening 10 million hectares of land to increase the income of the poor through the National Green India Mission.

He said the government hoped to soon establish an independent National Environmental Appraisal and Monitoring Authority.

“This authority could lead to a complete change in the process of granting environmental clearances. Staffed by dedicated professionals, it will work on a full time basis to evolve better and more objective standards of scrutiny,” he said.

The prime minister said action was being taken for generating over 20,000 MW of solar energy by 2020.

Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, who presided over the function, said that illegal mining was going on in different states and called upon the government to put in place a regulator for both appraisal and pricing of extracted minerals.

The prime minister said securing global cooperation for preservation of the environment proved quite difficult, as each country sought to protect its own perceived national interest. “There has also been a divide between the north and the south, which the international community has failed to bridge thus far,” he said.

The prime minister said a major challenge ahead was to put in place a legal and regulatory framework which is effective in protecting the environment but without bringing back the hated licence raj of the pre-1991 period.

“There is now general agreement that environment cannot be protected by perpetuating the poverty of developing countries…It is no longer possible to treat the environment with passive disregard,” he said.

Manmohan Singh complimented the judiciary for environmental jurisprudence.

“I must also mention that but for the enduring wisdom of the judiciary, we would not have the bulk of what we proudly call environmental jurisprudence,” he said.

Pointing to rapid growth and industrialization in the nineties, he said laws passed by “a farsighted legislature” were enforced to ensure that environmental concerns were neither diluted nor dismissed.

The seminar, jointly organised by the Supreme Court, the Delhi High Court, the Indian Law Institute and the environment and forests ministry, deliberated various subjects including biodiversity and natural resource management, climate change, environment, law, nuclear and chemical accidents and disaster management.

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