NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Sunday raised strong objections to clearances given to projects by various panels of the Ministry of Environment and Forests during the coronavirus-forced lockdown and sought a review and a moratorium on them.
Ramesh, who is the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forests and Climate Change, wrote a letter to environment minister Prakash Javadekar, raising his serious concerns and strong disapproval over the matter.
Sources said the issue will be raised at the next meeting of the parliamentary panel.
“This is atrocious but certainly not surprising. As chairman of the Standing Committee of Parliament, I register my strongest possible protest and request an immediate review and moratorium,” Ramesh said on Twitter.
He was referring to reports that various panels of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) have accorded clearances and discussed 30 projects in biodiverse forests during the lockdown period.
In a letter to Javadekar, the senior Congress leader said that he was “most concerned and disturbed” over the development, though not entirely surprised.
“The public health crisis that the world is going through is symptomatic of a deeper ecological crisis. This should be an opportunity to pause and reflect. Instead, your ministry is going full throttle ahead. I request you to immediately issue a moratorium on these and other clearances given during the lockdown period at least,” Ramesh said in his letter to Javadekar.
“Under normal circumstances, these clearances should cause worry; that they have been given during the lockdown period is atrocious. I cannot imagine any worthwhile due diligence that would have been done by the committees concerned,” he told the minister.






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